Though nothing has been finalized, the Rockland Boulders (independent; Can-Am League) are expressing an interest in a shift to the Atlantic League.
The Boulders have been members of the Can-Am League since 2011, when they began play at what is now known as Palisades Credit Union Park. The club says that it has a strong relationship with its current circuit, but is indicating that a switch to the independent Atlantic League is on its radar.
Boulders team president Shawn Reilly has explained the reasons for considering the switch, noting that the higher-profile Atlantic League could help the Boulders attract more recognizable players and play a role in boosting attendance. More from The Journal News:
The Boulders have led the Can-Am League in overall attendance and attendance per game in each of the past six seasons, but draw approximately 2,800 fans. Reilly said a move to the Atlantic League would change that.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this ballpark in the Atlantic League, we would be one of the signature franchises in the Atlantic League just because we’re 30 minutes from Manhattan,” he said. “If you’re a big-league player that has a place in Manhattan, do you want to fight traffic on Long Island or do you want to go Rockland and play? You go to Rockland.”
The goal would be to join the Atlantic League as soon as 2019 or 2020, Reilly said, but there are hurdles the Boulders must clear before a move is possible. Each independent team in each league signs an “affiliation agreement” so that teams cannot just pick up and leave, Reilly added.
“We’re bound to the Can-Am League, we love the Can-Am League, but we’re just trying to work with them to come up with a solution that would allow the Boulders to go to the Atlantic League and leave the Can-Am League with two other franchises to replace us,” he said. “We have a lot of history in the Can-Am League, so we wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt them.”
Reilly also explained to The Journal News that a move to affiliated Minor League Baseball would come with some obstacles, including territorial conflicts with the New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Hudson Valley Renegades (Short Season A; NY-Penn League).
The Atlantic League will play with an eight-team slate in 2018, with including seven clubs and the Road Warriors, a travel team. A new High Point team will replace the Road Warriors in 2019, when it begins play at a new downtown High Point ballpark.