Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Low Down

     Professional baseball provides many different levels of playing and coaching opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in the sport.  In the United States, there are five professional independent baseball leagues.  Each independent league has its own unique characteristics ranging from budget, level of quality, and realistic opportunity for the players to make it to the Major Leagues. Ranked in order goes from best to worst, the Independent Baseball Leagues consist of: the Atlantic League, the American Association, the Frontier League, the North American League, and the Can-Am League. 
     The Atlantic League is strides ahead of the other leagues as related to talent.  This league is based on the East coast and is geared toward giving players with a great deal of experience a second chance after being released from a Major League organization.  Generally, the majority of the players in this league have had major league playing experience.   The minimum salary for this league is $1,100 a month. The League also provides player amenities ranging from housing to outstanding practice and playing facilitie. Located in the United States and Canada, the American Association, a watered down version of the Atlantic League as far as talent goes, but facilities and fan involvement are quite comparable.  Across the board, stadiums are well-kept and many fans attend each baseball game.  The minimum salary for first-year rookies is $800 a month with experienced players receiving considerably higher salaries. 
     The Frontier League is quite similar to the American Association in terms of talent, but it is geared toward the development of younger players. The Frontier League focuses on providing former collegiate players a chance to play professional baseball.  The minimum salary for Frontier players is $600 a month.  Many of the young men are quite content with the salary because it is the first time they have ever been paid to play baseball.
     The North American League has a vast geographical spread from Texas to Hawaii and as far north as Canada.  The league has a minimum salary of $600 a month and focuses on giving rookies a chance to play baseball.  The difference between this league and the Frontier League is the overall financial stability of each individual team.  Stadium quality as well as the overall maintenance of the playing surface is minimal.  Fan attendance is generally low which creates an unmotivating playing environment.  Players are not always given a place to live, and must often pay their own way.  In many cases, players spend over half of their monthly salary on living expenses.  
     The bottom of the barrel is the Can-Am League which, at one point in time, was a quality league, but as of recently has met its downfall and is on the verge of folding.
     Although salaries and overall quality of Independent Baseball Leagues vary, there are still many opportunities for players to pursue or continue a professional baseball career.  Players should stay informed about the pros and cons of each league.     


  1. Good information about the various leagues of baseball presented in the United States. I have always been confused about all the different leagues and levels of play in leagues lower than the majors. I have often thought of these kinds of players not getting paid enough for it to be worth it but I like the point you make about the younger players just being excited to receive a check because they have never been paid to play before. It must be very discouraging for the people in these lower leagues not to have many fans or people interested in their games, these guys are still some of the best in the nation just not quite good enough to play in the major leagues. The large amounts of leagues as well as how many levels there are in the minor leagues of baseball prove just how popular the sport of baseball is in America as well as just how good you have to be to play and contribute to a professional ball club.

  2. I had no idea that there were so many different types of baseball leagues. I always just heard of the major league, and the minor leagues. The minor leagues being single A up to triple A. I feel that having these different leagues provide an opportunity to any player that might be interested in playing after high school or college. Let’s say you are from a small town, in the middle of nowhere and you are a really great player. You are not going to be able to draw the same attention from colleges as someone that is from a school from the city. So having these leagues gives those players that were over looked, or passes over an opportunity to make a name for them self’s.