As noted on the league’s website, the ICL Board of Directors, along with each team seems eager to return to the diamond after their previous season was interrupted for the first time since 1950.
The ICL, which currently features nine teams, including the Lexington Blue Sox, who have captured the league crown 15 times, will play a 24-game regular season. Following the conclusion of the regular season, the ICL will conduct a postseason.
The Intercity Baseball League (ICL) announced earlier today, both on its website and Facebook page that the 2020 season has been canceled.
The ICL, which has been playing baseball in the Greater Boston area since 1950, hoped to provide its nine-team league with an eight-game schedule followed by a tournament but the Board of Directors decided last night during a remote meeting that it was best to cancel the season and return to the field next year.
“After exploring every avenue for months, the ICL has made the extremely difficult decision to cancel the 2020 season. The Intercity League has enjoyed an outstanding and continuous tradition in Massachusetts amateur baseball since 1950 and we look forward to coming back stronger than ever in 2021. We make this decision out of an abundance of caution and after careful consideration of all factors. The safety of our players, their families, managers, coaches, umpires, administrators, and fans, remained paramount in all of our discussions. This was an exceedingly difficult choice, but we felt it was the best decision at this time. Given the ongoing situation and the ever-growing time constraints, we felt the window to conduct a meaningful ICL season this summer has become too narrow.”
While fans of the ICL will have to wait a bit longer to see their favorite team return to the diamond, the league did announce the Lexington Blue Sox are organizing a tournament to honor a pair of former players, including Pete Frates, who lost his courageous battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) last year.
The league plans to announce more information regarding the tournament later this week.
The Massachusetts adult, amateur, and youth sports world received some exciting news yesterday from Governor Charlie Baker: games and tournaments can begin as soon as next Monday, July 6.
Baker’s announcement sparked excitement for many itching to return to the playing field this summer, including Stephen Lewis, who is the general manager of baseball operations and training at The BASE, a non-profit in Roxbury, Massachusetts, that is currently organizing a team that recently joined the Yawkey Baseball League (YBL).
“We’re really just starting to get guys together,” Lewis explained. “We have had one or two small meetings (already), but the great part about it is all of our guys on the team have known each other for years (through our organization). They will have to shake the rust off and we will try to get in a day or two (of practices before the season begins), but it looks like we’ll pretty much jump into the season (pending when games officially start later this month).”
According to the YBL’s website, the league announced last month that the 2020 season would begin around Monday, July 6, which is the first day of the state’s third phase of its reopening. No schedule has been posted as of this morning, but once games do begin, Lewis is excited about his team’s inaugural season but also confident that his squad will be ready to contend for a league title.
“We’ll see how it all plays out,” Lewis said with a smile. “It is going to be a great experience, and like everyone else, we’re playing to win and have fun at the same time.”
Lewis’ excitement for the upcoming YBL season was echoed by Angelo Colucci, who is on the league’s board but is also the franchise holder for the Stoneham Sabres.
“I am very excited to start up next week,” said Colucci, who noted this will be the tenth year that the Sabres field a team in the YBL.
“All of the guys are excited and itching to start. We know we still have to be cautious and smart, but it is exciting to know that we will be having a season.”
Colucci and the Sabres finished 17-14 last summer while advancing to the league’s postseason. Stoneham’s title run concluded in the semifinals against the Revere Rockies, which went on to win its first-ever YBL crown against the Charlestown Townies.
Jeff Coveney, who is the president of the Boston Men’s Baseball League, also seems ready for baseball games to be played, but did admit that he is “cautiously excited to hit the field again.”
“Hitting phase three means we will get on the diamond by mid-July once we organize schedules and set final Covid-19 guidelines,” Convey explained.
The Boston Men’s Baseball League is a local chapter of the national Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL) and Men’s Adult Baseball League (MABL), and features teams from various parts of the state, including Braintree, Cambridge, Malden, Medford, North Andover, and Wellesley.
According to the Boston Men’s Baseball League’s website, coaches and players should know more about the upcoming season next week.
Said Convey, “Our players have been waiting for months to play the game they all love.”
One player that certainly would love to return to the field is Teddy Dziuba, who is the catcher for the Alibrandis Baseball Club in the Intercity Baseball League (ICL). Like most leagues, the ICL has kept both Dziuba and its players updated over the past few weeks and months, and seem hopeful to provide its nine-team league with an eight-game schedule followed by a tournament.
As noted on The ICL website, the earliest games would begin is Monday, July 13.
“We are doing our best to stay optimistic,” said Dziuba, who guided his team to the championship round last August against the Lexington Blue Sox.
As for the Massachusetts Independent Baseball League (MILB), coaches and players seem excited and optimistic for the third phase to begin next week, but know health and safety will be a big part of keeping everyone safe and healthy due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The MILB is excited about the news that phase three (will begin next Monday),” said Cam Fox, who is one of the co-founders of the league, as well as the senior manager for the Braintree Post 86. “We understand we still have a long way to go regarding health concerns, however, getting players back on the field is great news.
“We will continue to monitor health concerns and safety, which is our first priority, but we cannot wait to play some baseball again.”
In addition to allowing games and tournaments, the third phase of the state’s reopening includes professional sporting events, which means the Boston Red Sox will be able to play home games later this month once Major League Baseball (MLB) begins its 60 game season.
Additionally, fitness centers and health clubs, overnight camps, casinos, movie theatres, museums, and aquariums can also open in phase three. Theatres and performance venues will also be open, beginning with outdoor performances during step one followed by indoor shows in step two.
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).
“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.
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.”
For the moment, Teddy Dziuba and the Alibrandis Baseball Club of the Intercity Baseball League (ICL) remain on the sidelines. The upcoming season – the team’s third in the ICL – has yet to be canceled.
The ICL announced earlier this month that they hope to provide their eight-team league with a short, abbreviated season, pending it is safe to do so. But more information on the league’s 2020 season should become available tomorrow, Wednesday, May 20 when the ICL board of directors reconvene on Zoom.
“If we get the green light that baseball is going to happen this summer, the Alibrandis have two dozen eager baseball players waiting to take the field,” said Dziuba, who is the team’s catcher.
If the 2020 season is to occur, Dziuba and his teammates would certainly be a team to watch. The Alibrandis joined the ICL in 2018 and advanced to the postseason, both last year and the year before. And despite falling short of winning their first title, the team is optimistic about challenging the Lexington Blue Sox, which have won 15 league titles.
“The Alibrandis Baseball Club has enjoyed the last two seasons in the ICL immensely,” said Dziuba. “(The league features some) incredible talent from top to bottom, and it has certainly made us step up our games in terms of how we approach every night.
“(And while) we may be one of the older teams in the league, our veterans haven’t lost a step and will be gunning to take home our first championship as soon as they let us onto the field.”
Winning a championship, especially in the ICL would certainly be an accomplishment for this group, which has come up short the past two years against the Blue Sox. Lexington outlasted the Alibrandis in the 2018 semifinals before edging them one year later in the championship round.
Said Dziuba, “We look forward to continuing our healthy rivalry with the Lexington Blue Sox as soon as we are allowed on the field.”
The Alibrandis-Blue Sox rivalry will continue, as well as other hard-fought contests, too. But for now, Dziuba and his teammates seem upbeat – they’re even exchanging positive text messages these days to keep everyone’s spirits up.