Brian Clark has sold his majority stake in the San Rafael Pacifics and Sonoma County Grapes (independent; North American League) to the team’s minority investors: Steve Allen, Eugene Lupario and Mike Shapiro.
Shapiro was the face of the Pacific this past year, when the team drew around 700 fans a game to Albert Park in a four-team division of the North American League. The question, as the ownership team seeks a new three-year lease for Albert Park: exactly what sort of league will exist in 2013? It’s no secret there will be some retooling of the circuit, which featured seven permanent teams and three road teams in 2012 in western and Texas divisions. Abilene (a permanent team) and McAllen (a road team) failed to finish 2012. Before the agreement that formed the North American League, the Texas teams played under the United League Baseball banner, and we suspect that circuit’s banner may raise again; the league logo is already prominently displayed on the Edinburg Roadrunners website.
Meanwhile, the ownership of Na Koa Ikaika Maui and the Hawaii Stars announced plans to expand in 2013 — but westward, with play against Pacific Rim and Japanese minor-league squads in the Japan Baseball Challenge League. The stated goal is also to add a team in Oahu.
“Baseball speaks a common language and our goal is to have our 50th State as the center of independent pro baseball in the Pacific Rim,” said team owner Bob Young via press release. “Our 50th state combines its uncontested beauty with the deepest passions for the game from its great fans and its international communities, evident as we have become firmly entrenched in Maui and the Big Island. With Eri Yoshida, our burgeoning female pitching star, helping us with the introduction to professional independent baseball in Japan, we are extremely pleased to have these renowned executives in their field take us to the next level of our expansion in the Islands and beyond.”
So, with the Texas teams possibly seceding and the Hawaii teams looking to increase foreign play, who will the Pacifics and Grapes play in 2013? We’ll see.
RELATED STORIES: Midseason at Albert Park: How are the Pacifics doing?; Pacifics pack Albert Park in opener; NAL lays out game plan for 2012; New for 2012: Hawaii Stars; New for 2012: Sonoma County Grapes; Yuma, OC out of NAL; two replacements in the works; Fullerton Flyers returning in 2012?; Fullerton, Flyers enter exclusive negotiating period for new ballpark; More on Fullerton ballpark proposal; Diamond Sports walks away from North American League management; North American League at 10 teams for 2012; Chico Outlaws season scrapped; Edmonton out of North American League; Outlaws negotiating return to Chico in 2012; Abilene in NAL
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