Three Indy Leagues Merge To Form North American League

Independent baseball has never seen anything like this

The Northern League, United League and Golden League had all lost franchises during the season or the offseason. So to put together a solid schedule, the three league have decided to join forces to form the North American League. The league will field between 16 to 20 teams, according to a league release, with further expansion planned in 2011.

The new league will have what has to be the largest geographic footprint in minor league baseball history. It will stretch from Maui, Hawaii, up to Canada (Edmonton and Calgary), across to the Chicago area (where the remaining Northern League teams were located) and down to Texas (where the United League's teams play).

Under the new league's plan, each of the three groups of teams will play 75 percent of their games against teams in their old league, with the other 25 percent of the roughly 90-100 game schedule to be played against teams from other areas.

Many of the final details as far as scheduling, roster rules and salary structure are yet to be worked out and will be discussed at the new league's meetings later this month. The new league as of yet does not have a Website, and the domain for appears to not be owned by anyone in the league—it's listed as being for sale.

To get to the 16 teams that the league has announced it plans to field, there will have to be some expansion cities, as only four teams remain in the United League and the Northern League was down to four teams. The number of teams in the Golden Baseball League at the moment is in flux with several teams still working out new leases at their ballparks. The league was down to five teams after Victoria announced it was shutting down operations.

The league will hold playoffs at the end of the regular season to determine an overall champion.