The Midwest Collegiate League has announced plans to add a temporary league-operated team for the 2020 summer season, which is slated to begin on July 1.
The new team will take the place of the Bloomington Bobcats, who will go on a one-year hiatus from the MCL with the league planning to hold its entire schedule in Northwest Indiana, creating travel challenges for the Bloomington-Normal based team amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary team will allow the MCL to continue to operate with six clubs for the 2020 season while also creating additional opportunities for college players in the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana area as numerous other leagues have made the decision to cancel their 2020 seasons.
The new franchise is currently seeking players for the upcoming season. Those interested are encouraged to fill out a player application on midwestcollegiateleague.com. Games are expected to take place at several Northwest Indiana venues. The DuPage County Hounds, Joliet Generals, Crestwood Panthers and Southland Vikings will all play games in the Northwest Indiana area, while the Northwest Indiana Oilmen will continue to hold home games at Oil City Stadium. Additional details about the new franchise, including the team name and manager, will be announced at a later date.
“I am excited to add a new sixth franchise to the Midwest Collegiate League for this season,” Commissioner Don Popravak said. “Numerous college baseball players have had their spring and summer seasons impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and our new club will open up additional opportunities for some of the many players looking for a place to play this summer. The Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana areas are filled with talented baseball players, and our league provides an opportunity for them to hone their skills while staying close to home and minimizing travel during these unprecedented times.”
The MCL announced a July 1 start date for its 11th season earlier this month and will unveil the revised schedule in the coming weeks. The league plans to implement expanded roster sizes to prioritize the health and wellbeing of players since they had limited, if any, game action during the spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As announced in early April, the MCL will implement a one-year rule change allowing collegiate seniors from the Class of 2020 to participate in the league during the 2020 summer season. The MCL is continuing to work with state and local governments to develop safety procedures for players, coaches, fans and team personnel upon the return to action.