Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

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The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, especially the greater metropolitan areas of the Northeast megalopolis. It operates in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is not affiliated with either. The Atlantic League requires cities to have the market for a 4,000 to 7,500-seat ballpark and for the facility to be maintained at or to exceed AAA standards.[1]

The Atlantic League exists so that professional baseball players who are not signed by a Major or Minor League organization could have another chance at playing at a higher level. Although the level of Atlantic League play can be categorized as between AA and AAA, players in independent baseball are usually not scouted heavily by Major League teams. Many former Major League ballplayers have called Atlantic League teams home in an effort to get back to the Majors. The league also caters to players who are not quite talented enough to play at a higher level.



In 1998, the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball played its inaugural season. The creation of the league was the result of the New York Mets' objection to Frank Boulton's proposal to move the former Albany-Colonie Yankees to Long Island. The Mets objected to the move because of its territorial rights to the region. Boulton, a Long Island native, decided to create a new league that would have a higher salary cap for its players and a longer season than most of the other independent baseball organizations. He modeled the Atlantic League after the older Pacific Coast League, with facilities that exceed AAA-level standards. Boulton also emphasized signing players of Major League Baseball experience for all Atlantic League teams, raising the level of play above other independent leagues.

The Long Island Ducks continue to be a strong draw in the region, averaging 400,000 fans a season, and have seen the likes of such Major League alumni as Edgardo Alfonzo, Pedro Borbón, Jr., José Offerman, Donovan Osborne, Bill Pulsipher, Armando Ríos, John Rocker, and Mark Whiten. In 2007, Frank Boulton expressed his contentment with the Atlantic League and the Ducks to Baseball America saying, "The Long Island Ducks are the best thing I've ever done in baseball."[2]

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