As schedules for the independent North American League are posted to the Web, one interesting fact is emerging: it doesn’t appear as though the four Texas teams in United League Baseball are participating fully in the NAL this season — for good reason.
Four? Yes. It looks as though there’s been a change in the league lineup, at least for the moment. Take a look at the schedule for the San Angelo Colts. On the schedule is a McAllen Thunder team currently not listed as a North American League squad. The only games against a NAL team: a season-ending set with the Chico Outlaws.
Then take a look at the schedule for the Lake County Fielders. There’s not a game scheduled against a Texas team — despite the Texas teams and Lake County purportedly playing in the same division — but plenty of games against the Hawaii, Edmonton and Calgary team, both at home and on the road. No Henderson, either.
These appear to be the only two teams with schedules updated after the loss of the Rockford Riverhawks last week. The league has not released a full schedule; some teams have old schedules, while some have no schedules at all.
Now, most of this could just be reality in scheduling: it takes a lot of money for a team to travel from Texas to California, even if you bus the players from McAllen to Texas over the course of 21+ hours. And there are some monster road trips for Lake County: a July 12-31 trip takes the Fielders to Yuma, Chico, Edmonton and Calgary.
Trying to launch a league on the combined resources of the Northern League, Golden League Baseball and United League Baseball: the geographic challenges are staggering and the economics daunting. Keeping the Texas teams as their own group certainly makes sense; the biggest loser in all this is Lake County, whose players will be subjected to a lot of hours on the bus, as there’s no other NAL team on the schedule within 1,400 miles.