Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The Continental League, which seemingly had been in a holding pattern for months while its announced May 24 launch date was drawing closer and closer, is about to unveil its cities.

All indications are that Commissioner Ron Baron will reveal the first two cities in media conferences Thursday, with what the Independent Baseball Insiderhas learned will be a third Texas community to follow in a short time. Then the Continental League will open, as scheduled, most likely with a travel team completing the lineup for the 2007 season.

What this means to Independent Baseball is that the map will swell from seven leagues last season to 10 this summer, including two other newcomers, the six-team South Coast League and the Utica, NY-based four-team New York State League. The number of teams will go from 56 of 2006 to 72 or 74, depending on whether the Golden League fields six teams or eight.

The first two Continental League teams will be in Lewisville, TX (Denton County), which is north of Dallas, and Tarrant County, which is something like 20 miles from the American Association's defending champion Fort Worth Cats and 35 miles from the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Lewisville is a few miles further away. Both teams will be in rapid growth areas.

Former major league outfielder Jay Johnstone will be on hand along with Baron and onetime Chicago Cubs publicist Bob Ibach when the Continental League introduces its initial teams and discusses its 60-game Thursday-Sunday schedule. While the league works on newer facilities and more teams for the future, the three teams with stadiums in 2007 will play in high school facilities with each of them hosting about 38 games.

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