The Puerto Rican League, which missed an entire season four years ago, will be down to four teams in 2011-2012, according to El Nuevo Dia, a Spanish-language newspaper based in San Juan. Two agents who represent players from Puerto Rico confirmed the move, though attempts to contact officials with the league were unsuccessful.
Puerto Rican League president Antonmattei Giotia said the league’s board of directors had decided to play the upcoming winter season with Carolina, Ponce, Caguas and Mayaguez. The league played with just five teams last year as the Santurce Crabbers were on hiatus, and this year the San Juan Senators will also go dark. Giotia told El Nuevo Dia this was no hiatus. “The league will be four franchises,” he said. “It’s not temporary . . . This is over.”
The two franchises have struggled for several years. Former big leaguer Jose Antonio Valentin had owned the Crabbers, but the team had multiple financial issues that caused it to drop out of the league last winter. Now issues between the league, the Senators franchise and the city of San Juan over the management of Hiram Bithorn Stadium have prompted the league to leave the island’s capital and largest city without a team.
Most of the industry talk about the state of baseball in Puerto Rico centers on the island’s diminished impact at the big league level since its players became eligible for the draft in 1989. As players such as Carlos Delgado and new Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar have retired, a new crop of Puerto Rican superstars has yet to emerge. The diminished winter league won’t help matters, as young Puerto Rican players will have fewer roster spots if they want to play winter ball close to home.
The change in the lineup prompted a change in schedule, and the season will begin Nov. 4, a week later than previously planned. The league’s regular-season winner will automatically advance to a best of nine championship series against the winner of a series between the second- and third-place teams.
Also in Latin America, the Pirates announced they will drop their affiliate in the Rookie-level Venezuelan League, leaving the circuit with just five teams.
Pittsburgh is terminating its lease at its Venezuelan academy and will instead field two teams in the Dominican Summer League. Both DSL clubs will accommodate 35 players, so it won’t affect the number of players the organization can field in Latin America.
The Pirates, which had won two of the past four VSL titles, lost to the Rays in the championship this year.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog