The Normal CornBelters are departing the independent Frontier League, and will join a summer-collegiate circuit beginning in 2019.
There has been some discussion about the future of the CornBelters, who have been reported to be considering a shift from the professional independent Frontier League to a summer-collegiate circuit. The organization indicated last week that it had not made a final decision on the 2019 season, but is now confirming that it is leaving the Frontier League for summer-collegiate baseball.
That news was confirmed by CornBelters president Steve Malliet, who indicated that remaining in the Frontier League was not a viable option for the organization going forward. The team will retain the CornBelters branding and continue to play at the Corn Crib, but has not officially announced what summer-collegiate circuit it is joining for 2019. More from The Pantagraph:
“We tried for nine years and have been in business for 10 years, and we haven’t been able to make this particular model with the Frontier League work,” Malliet said. “I wish we could remain a part of the Frontier League, but it isn’t feasible for us to do that long term….
Frontier League teams have an annual salary cap of $75,000 that Normal will no longer have to pay to players with amateur standing.
“That’s part of the overall issue and the workman’s comp expense has been much higher,” said Malliet.
Malliet mentioned the Prospect League, Northwoods League and Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League as possible destinations for the team. He called a college summer league “a good model for where we’re at and the community we’re in.”
The CornBelters had competed in the Frontier League since 2010.