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AWBL goes dark for 2013

American West Baseball LeagueThe independent American West Baseball League will go dark in 2013, with CEO Michael Cummings resigning and Sean Smock assigned to pick up the pieces for 2014.

Of course, once a league goes dark it rarely comes back. And in the case of the American West Baseball League, we’re talking about an outfit that would announce teams — Fullerton! Long Beach! San Diego! Yuma! — without ever a chance of these teams seeing the light of day. In the end, there were only three franchises committed to play in 2013, and obviously the level of commitment left something to be desired. Any league trying to build around Las Cruces is facing a tough battle.

And, let’s face it: independent baseball in the southwest and California has cost investors a lot of money over the years. Between the Western Baseball League, the Golden Baseball League and the North American League, no one has figured out how to draw thousands of fans to a Yuma ballpark on a hot August night. It’s going to be extremely hard to make independent baseball work in the region, and taking a year off to do things right probably isn’t the best answer.

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