While googling around I stumbled across the new website for the Far West League. Created by merger of a couple of other summer leagues, it will feature some old-time teams like the Humboldt Crabs (the oldest summer ballteam in the country, complete with Crab Grass Band) and the proudly-politically incorrect Redding Colt .45s. I'm sure many McC nerds have seen many of these teams over the years (and possibly even played for or coached some) but it appears this new mega-league will bring summer collegiate ball all over the state and into many of your very backyards.
Many of you might be most familiar with summer collegiate baseball from coverage of the Cape Cod League (and specifically Timmy's play there). Summer collegiate leagues give college players a chance to escape the clanky plague of aluminum bats, and populate otherwise-empty college ballparks with real live baseball. I don't know how many players from the FWL teams have gone on to the majors, but many of them will certainly move on to the minors. You could see a future Modesto Nut or Jamestown Jammer, just down the street! Tickets seem to range between $5-$8 dollars with various packages that bring even that price down if you want to go regularly. Many of the games are broadcast on local radio or online so you need never go without a baseball fix.The Far West League 2011 schedule shows the league's first pitch to be at 5PM on Friday, May 27 at James Lick HS in San Jose. The 2011 teams are:
- California Seals (Evans Diamond, Berkeley CA)
- Humboldt Crabs (Arcata, CA)
- Nevada Scout Team (Carson City, NV)
- Nor-Cal Pirates (Chico, CA)
- Redding Colt .45s (Redding, CA)
- Southern Oregon Riverdawgs (Medford, OR) [some wealthy SOU alum should organize a meetup]
- Atwater Aviators (Atwater, CA)
- California Glory (Lodi, CA)
- Fontanetti's Athletics (San Jose, CA)
- Fresno Cardinals (Fresno, CA)
- Neptune Beach Pearl (Alameda, CA)
There are summer collegiate teams/leagues all over California; I just posted about this one because I was excited to find a team in Berkeley and a great excuse to hop over for a game. The Menlo Park Legends seem to still be settling on a home field but will play teams from the FWL and beyond, and there are teams in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Nevada as well.
Any of you interested in working "in baseball" might consider (undoubtedly unpaid) internships with these teams. Menlo has various listings on its website; some of these teams don't even have websites which suggests to me that teams would welcome any
slave volunteer help. Which apparently runs the entire gamut of baseball-type jobs including singing the Anthem and event planning and broadcasting.
Those of you with space and inclination can house your very own collegiate baseball player, an experience your children would never forget. Alameda's Neptune Beach team (apparently an expansion squad) has an invitation for host families on their site. I'm sure finding summer jobs for the players is a trial these days so those of you needing summer help might consider your local teams. Many of the teams host summer camps for kids as well.
With teams scattered across the state, as you travel for work or business or drive around aimlessly, keep these and the other summer teams in mind and drop in to support them.