The New England Collegiate Baseball League, another summer league that boasts 12 teams in all six New England states, is declaring its intent to compete with the Cape Cod Baseball League. On Dec. 10th, the NECBL elected Mario Tiani as its new Commissioner, replacing 12-year veteran Kevin MacIlvane.
Tiani wasted no time in the local newspaper declaring war on the CCBL.
“We’re a new baby, but we’ve caught up very quickly,” Tiani told the Danbury News-Times. “Our GMs are recruiting head-to-head with the Cape (Cape Cod League) GMs. We feel that we’re at the same level as the Cape League. And so do a lot of people in professional baseball. We have a quality league right now that’s thriving and I’m very proud of that.”
John Manuel of Baseball America wrote in 2002 that, “The NECBL continues its climb up the ladder of summer leagues, with intriguing talents continuing to find their way there.”
The NECBL has excellent roots. It began in the early 1990s under the direction of George Foster, former Cincinnati Reds from the Big Red Machine Days (apologies to all Red Sox fans).
Like the CCBL, the NECBL begins in early June. It plays an eight week, 42 game per team schedule. Although not as many as the CCBL, players from the NECBL have gone onto the Big Leagues. S ee the NECBL’s alumni list.
Also like the CCBL, the NECBL has its own broadcast network. And Team USA has played games against NECBL teams.
Andrew and I discussed this offline and he is skeptical of the NECBL’s claims. Andrew correctly points out that NECBL – like the Cranberry League – will always play second fiddle to the well-established Alaska and Cape Cod summer leagues.
“Teams are far apart,” Andrew wrote me. “The longest ride being Newport to Montpelier at 4 hours, 15 minutes.”
As Adam Sandler might say, “That’s wicked far!”