The independent Pacific Association is moving to a new phase, with the East Bay Lumberjacks joining the circuit and the Vallejo Missions scaling back, bypassing a scheduled trip to Hawaii.
The semi-pro Lumberjacks have been a fill-in opponent for the two Northern California teams in the four-team circuit. Technically, the San Rafael Pacfics, Maui Na Koa Ikaika, Hawaii Stars and Vallejo Admirals comprise the Pacific Association, but the teams schedule games against semipro and pro teams both in California and Japan. There is a question, we think, as to whether the Pacific Association is a true pro league: teams don’t report attendance (save San Rafael, which is averaging 359 fans a game), and with plenty of games against semipro teams, the level of play is probably not at a pro level.
“This is a very important first step in assuring the long term stability of the Pacific Association,” said Pacific Association Commissioner Mike Marshall. “We envision a stronger league with more local Bay Area teams competing against other as well as teams from throughout the Pacific region. The Lumberjacks have demonstrated their competitive and financial capacity and we welcome them to our league.”
The Admirals aren’t going out of business; instead of making the Hawaii trip they’ll be hosting a 12-game stretch at Wilson Park. From the Times-Herald:
Marshall mentioned there are some things that the Admirals can “mirror” in regards to their Highway 37 neighbors, the Pacifics. “I think it is very important that we make sure all of the ballparks are fan-friendly experiences,” he said.
Marshall said the decision involving the Admirals and Lumberjacks does not mean that the league will be phasing out the Hawaii teams in the future.
“We are trying to build up our Northern California base,” he said. “Obviously, the commute to games is easier but we don’t just want four Northern California teams. We won’t be a viable league if we did that.”
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