In an exclusive Examiner interview, Freedom League spokesman David Whiteside today confirmed that the league would once again be a four team circuit in 2013. “Site renovations and other schedule conflicts made it difficult to expand this year,” said Whiteside. “The FPBL will work on establishing our branding and look toward expansion in 2014.”
Two of last year’s sites are unavailable for 2013. Peoria Stadium, 2012 home to the Sonoran Explorers, is undergoing a $20 million renovation that begins following spring training. Scottsdale Stadium, home base of the Arizona Centennials, will be unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with the Arizona League. The Giants rookie league team will be using the stadium during field improvements to their minor league complex. Freedom League champions, the Copper State Prospectors, played at Phoenix Municipal Stadium where no conflicts seem to exist.
Stadiums in Mesa, Tempe and Maryvale also host Arizona league games from June 20-August 31 leaving the FPBL limited site options. A representative from the City of Goodyear said that “serious conversations have taken place with the Freedom Pro Baseball League, although no contracts have been signed.” The City of Surprise also confirmed conversations with the FPBL about hosting a team this summer.
Whiteside also confirmed that the league would return to Prescott with some “exciting changes planned for that site.” The schedule will expand from the 60 games scheduled for each team last year to an 86-90 game season this year. The league will be announcing other sites and releasing a schedule in the near future.
Opening day in 2012 was May 19 and the season ended on September 4. With an expanded schedule for 2013, the season will likely open in April. The newly formed Pacific Association has announced a schedule of 24 inter-league games with the FPBL.