Arizona’s Freedom Pro Baseball League will schedule 24 inter league games against two California teams from the newly formed Pacific Association of Baseball Clubs. The agreement was reported on Monday by Our Sports Central. “Each league is in the emerging stages of development with highly capable professional leadership,” said Joe Sperle, Founder and President of the FPBL. “This is a unique opportunity for both leagues to better get to know one another as we explore a more integrated relationship going forward.”
The Pacific Association is being formed from the remnants of the defunct North American Baseball League (NABL) which folded after last season. The new league will be made up of four teams; San Rafael (CA) Pacifics and Modesto (CA) Grapes (both owned by Redwood Sports and Entertainment); the Hilo (HI) Stars and the Maui (HI) Na Koa Ikaika. The two Hawaii based clubs will travel to Japan for an inter league series against teams from the Baseball Challenge League. Both California teams will make trips to Arizona to start their seasons with three game series against each of the four FPBL clubs. A proposed schedule, which should be released later this month, will include home and home three game series against each club for a total of 24 inter league contests. All games will count in the official league standings. The plan is a trial balloon for what could become a merger of the two leagues in the future.
Eugene Lupario, Managing Principal Owner of the two California teams sees positive things from a relationship with the FPBL. “We’ve seen a lot of instability over the recent years with independent leagues on the West Coast. This proposed concept of a merged Freedom League and Pacific Association makes a lot of sense toward assuring long-term stability.”
Although no announcement has been made, the inter league arrangement with the Pacific Association apparently signals that the FPBL is tabling plans to expand to six teams as previously announced. The league was planning to add the Grand Canyon Pioneers and Western Wranglers to the existing four clubs; Arizona Centennials; Copper State Prospectors; Montezuma Federals; and Sonoran Explorers. No schedule or stadium sites for any teams have been announced for 2013.
The Pacifics and Grapes will be holding open tryouts for players at College of Marin on June 26. Both clubs will also be selecting players from the Freedom Winter League which begins at Snedigar Sportsplex in Chandler, AZ on February 13. The FPBL has promised to sign at least 40 players from the camp.