Thursday marks the beginning of a new season for the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), a circuit that is looking to follow up on its solid debut.
Last year’s launch of the USBPL was one of the more intriguing stories of the season. Established by General Sports & Entertainment–a group led by experienced sports executive Andy Appleby–the league featured three teams, all of which played at the brand new Jimmy John’s Field in Utica, MI.
Attendance figures reported at the end of the year said that the league attracted a per-game average of more than 3,000 fans to Jimmy John’s Field. Since then, the USPBL has moved forward with adding a new team, as the Westside Wooly Mammoths have been established for this season, and will share Jimmy John’s Field with the Utica Unicorns, Eastside Diamond Hoppers, and Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers.
The addition of a fourth team, along with an increase in season ticket sales, some new fan amenities at Jimmy John’s Field, and a tweak in the league’s schedule could allow the USPBL to make strides in year two. More from The Detroit Free Press:
“The first year went exceedingly well and I’m anticipating greater attendance this year because people already know all about what kind of experience they are going to have,” Appleby said. “It’s been a great offseason with a nice uptick in season-ticket sales and we’re offering a schedule full of exciting new promotions. We were overwhelmed by the thousands of positive testimonials we’ve received and our mission since last season ended has been to make this one even better.”
The season is starting about two weeks earlier so that all games can be played Thursday-Sunday with the exception of matinees on Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.
Upgrades to the $16 million facility include a fire pit beyond the left field wall, three new full-service bars, a stage for postgame concerts and even an herb garden that will be utilized for concessions.
There will be heritage nights on Thursdays, postgame firework shows on Fridays, live bands on Saturdays and kids days on Sundays.
Birmingham-Bloomfield is scheduled to face Utica in Thursday’s opener.