By Matt Noonan
Branden Anderson was always interested in competing in the Intercity Baseball League (ICL).
The Lowell, Massachusetts native, who played high school baseball at Greater Lowell Technical High School, says it was the league’s “fields and cities” that made him eager to join a league that has been fielding teams throughout the Greater Boston area for nearly seven decades.
“Entering a team in the ICL was always something I was interested in (doing),” said Anderson, who was previously a player, coach, and recruiter for the East Boston Knights of the Yawkey Baseball League (YBL).
Anderson’s interest and excitement for joining the ICL became a reality this past weekend as the league welcomed his team – the Middlesex Expos – through both its website and social media channels.
“The excitement (for) our team is through the roof,” Anderson said, when asked about joining the ICL. “Our guys are generally excited about baseball (in general), but now having a fresh new challenge in front of us has brought back some extra fire in our bellys.”
Anderson’s excitement for leading the Expos onto the diamond was echoed by the club’s co-founder John Moore, who played in the ICL for eight seasons.
“I am an Intercity alum,” said Moore, who competed for the Augustin A’s and Elm Supply from 1986 to 1993. “I had every intention of retiring from coaching and managing until I spoke with Branden after the (previous) Yawkey season was over.”
The Expos, who will be playing home games in both Cambridge and Revere, will feature a roster of players that suited up for both the Knights and McKay Club Beacons of the YBL last summer. The team, according to Anderson, should be ready to compete against some impressive competition, including the Alibrandis, who are entering their third season with the ICL.
“Getting another chance to play against the great Alibrandis again doesn’t hurt us,” said Anderson with a big smile.
Anderson considers the ICL one of the best summer baseball leagues in the region. The league features a slew of players that have competed in multiple levels, including the majors like Manny Delcarmen, a former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox that competed in six postseason games last sumer for the Lexington Blue Sox.
“Everywhere you go in Boston or just outside (the city), all you hear about is how the ICL is the best summer baseball around that isn’t strictly collegiate based,” said Anderson.
Both Anderson and Moore seem optimistic their team will be able to play some games later this summer, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The ICL also seems eager to provide its nine-team league with some games, too, along with a double-elimination tournament instead of its usual playoff format.
According to the league’s website, baseball games would be permitted during the state’s third phase of its reopening – as of now, the third phase would begin Monday, June 29 – with “Opening Day” tentatively scheduled for Monday, July 6.
“I am definitely confident we will have an abbreviated season starting sometime in early July,” said Anderson. “The league is working extremely hard to make this happen and I know the players are ready to get back out there.”
Added Moore, “I think an abbreviated season would be great and I think it will happen. There will be constraints and guidelines, (of course), but I know the ICL will do everything they can to abide by every communities’ guidelines.”