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
, 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. United States
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 , 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. Canada
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 . 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. Canada
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.