The Florida State League is a Class A-Advanced Minor League Baseball league operating in the state of Florida. Class A is the middle of five classifications of minor leagues (Triple-A, Double-A, A, Short-Season A and Rookie) that are affiliated with Major League Baseball teams. Most players in the Florida State League do not reach that level until their third or fourth year of professional play. The majority of teams in the league play in the spring training facility of the Major League Baseball teams with which they are affiliated (for example, Tampa for the Yankees' affiliate, Port St. Lucie for the Mets' affiliate, Lakeland for the Tigers' affiliate, Clearwater for the Phillies' affiliate, etc.). Although the level of play is high, attendance tends to be lower than in other minor leagues, typically in the range of 500–1,000 people per game.
The league originated in 1919 with teams in Bartow, Bradenton, Lakeland, Orlando, Sanford, and Tampa, Florida. The league closed down in 1928 and resumed play in 1936. It has continued uninterrupted, except for a four-year (1942–1945) suspension during World War II.
The league was realigned following the 2008 season, and is currently divided into two divisions: North and South. The twelve member teams play a 140 game schedule with 70 games at home and 70 games on the road (20 against geographically closest division opponent, 18 against each of the other 4 division teams, 8 against each of the 6 non-division opponents). The six team divisions play a split season with the first half ending in June and the second half ending in September.
Four teams participate in the play-offs. Winners of both halves within each division play each other in a best-of-three game series for the Division Championships. If there is a repeat division winner, a wild card team will qualify for the play-offs. The Division Champions will move on to the League Championship Series and play a best-of-five game series.
In 2009, the Florida State League established a Hall of Fame commemorating the league's great players, managers, owners, and umpires. The awards and ceremonies for the inaugural class will take place at the FSL's winter meetings in Daytona Beach in November.
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