The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball is an eight team independent baseball league that formed in 1998. Since its inception it has been a haven for the pro who’s lost his way, the career minor leaguer who wants to keep riding the bus, and for the 50-year-old former Cy Young Winner who’s been excommunicated from the church of baseball due to PED use.
The Atlantic League boasts that it is the closest thing to Major League Baseball without being Major League Baseball.
The Atlantic League is the highest level of professional baseball other than the Major Leagues. Atlantic League players are all highly experienced professionals, “Major League Ready”, having progressed through the developmental levels (Single-A, Double-A, Triple-A). Approximately 40% of Atlantic League players have Major League service time. Like MLB, Atlantic League clubs pay their players to win baseball games, not be apprentices as in the developmental levels.
Every summer an ALPB team makes some headlines signing a former Major League star. Roger Clemens was the big one last year as he took his talents and his frosted tips to Sugar Land, Texas to play for the Sugar Land Skeeters. His son Koby is the catcher for the Skeeters.
This year the Long Island Ducks are the headline grabbers. This off-season the Ducks made two splashes in the open market. First they brought in Vladimir Guerrero. A few days later they signed 2003 NL Rookie of the Year Dontrelle Willis.
Guerrero has not featured for the Ducks yet this season due to personal reasons, but he is expected to join the team very soon.
D-Train on the other hand has a 1-1 record with a 4.11 ERA. More impressively, Willis was used as the DH one game and went 1-2 with 3 RBIs. Willis is the ace of a pitching staff that also includes Ian Snell. Their catcher is former MLB catcher Ramon Castro.
Other great name checks include Brett Tomko playing for the York Revolution, Daryle Ward of the Lancaster Barnstormers Delwyn Young with the Camden RiverSharks, and Gary Majewski who is pitching for Sugar Land.