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Goodbye, Great Plains Baseball League; hello, Midwest Collegiate League

Midwest CollegiateThe summer-collegiate Great Plains League is no more, replaced with a new name — the Midwest Collegiate League — designed to better reflect the league’s footprint for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

The league lineup: the Chicago Zephyrs (playing out of Judson University), Homestead Ranchers (playing out of Grosche Field), Rockford Foresters (playing out of Marinelli Field), Southland Vikings and the Will County CrackerJacks, with a sixth club soon to be announced.

The reason for the name change: three teams in the old Great Plains League dropped out for 2011, and the league ownership decided on a fresh approach and name for the season. It’s a pretty tight footprint, though league officials say they’re exploring expansion options in southern Wisconsin and Indiana; a tough sell as several other summer-collegiate (Northwoods League, Prospect League) and independent leagues (North American League, American Association) also target the same area. Otherwise, things remain the same in the front office, with Don Popravak serving as league commissioner.

The league will play an eight-week 40 game regular season schedule, with an All-Star Game and post season league playoff. Additionally, the League will feature a Scout Evaluation Day as part of its All-Star Festivities.    

“We believe that the location of our league will be an attractive consideration for many baseball players from all over the country as it is easily accessed by car, train and plane,” Popravak said.

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