Founded in 2011, the Future’s Collegiate Baseball League has already made a mark on collegiate baseball, attracting players from across the country as they look to hone in their skills and improve their chances of playing professionally. The league currently houses nine ball clubs, with six of them residing right here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The league’s Commissioner is Christopher Hall, who has been running the FCBL ever since it was founded in 2011. He has overseen massive expansion, that saw the league’s team rise from four in 2011 up to nine in 2012. The league reached up to 10 teams from 2014-16, then and dropped back to the nine teams that they currently have now. Throughout it’s history, the FCBL has seen many players move to play professional baseball for organizations across the Major League’s. Most notable was Chris Shaw, who was drafted in the first round of the 2015 Draft by the San Francisco Giants after playing for New Bedford in 2012.
Perhaps one of the best parts of the FCBL is the commitment to local talent from the New England area. Each team’s roster must contain at least 26 players on it, with the maximum being 31. But on their rosters, the team’s must have at least 13 players who either reside in New England or attend a college or university located in New England. This roster rule assures that all teams will have lots of local flavor that draws fans to the ballpark and brings extra excitement to the league. This allows local players to have a chance to showcase themselves with top prospects from around the country, promoting local baseball at the collegiate level and further attracting players to attend schools in the New England area.
The Future’s Collegiate Baseball League has perhaps one of the most fun rules in all of baseball to determine a winner if the game is tied. If a game is tied after 10 innings, the team’s will participate in a home run derby to determine to win it, which they call “Home Run Derby Wins It“. The managers will choose three players from their roster to participate, and the first round will feature a three-minute round with two 30-second timeouts. The manager may call the timeout in order to switch players that they have chosen. If it is tied after the first round, they will move to a second round, where managers will select two players (they may be the same players) and the round will be two-minutes timed with one 30-second timeout. If after two rounds there is still a tie, a third round will ensue with one batter hitting for one minute per team. If a tie is still in place after three rounds the game will be considered a tie. This twist is a one of a kind rule that you will not find in many places across the world.
The FCBL’s regular season runs from the beginning of June through the beginning of August. All teams will play 56 games in the regular season, which each team hosting 28 games at their home ballpark. Every season the league will host an All-Star Game that is played at one of the ballpark’s in the league. The league is divided up into East and West for the game, and a home run derby takes place as well. The playoffs will take place after the regular season concludes, with the top six teams from the league making it to the postseason. The top two teams will receive a bye, while the one game playoff’s will take place between the #3 and #6 seeds as well as the #4 and #5 seeds. The semifinals will feature a three-game series between the lowest remaining seed and the #1 seed, while the #2 seed will play the highest remaining seed. The championship will also be determined by a three-game series.
Every game of the Future’s Collegiate Baseball League is streamed through the various franchises who will host the games, while the Worcester Bravehearts games can be heard on the radio as well. The league will produce rundowns on their website, with video recaps of recent action including game highlights and analysis. The league will also announce news through their website, including announcement of the awards that they hand out to players. They hand out Player of the Night, Player of the Week, Player of the Month as well as an All-FCBL Team. They also give out yearly awards, such as MVP and Top Pro Prospect. Their most prestigious award is the Adam Keenan Sportsman and Scholarship Award, which is given to a player that displays outstanding attitude, character and sportsmanship.
Massachusetts houses the majority of the FCBL, with at least 168 league games being played in the Commonwealth every single summer. Below is a list of all Massachusetts ball clubs with information on fields and their websites:
Stadium (Capacity): Campanelli Stadium (6,000)
Location: 1 Feinburg Way
Stadium (Capacity): Vineyard Baseball Park: The Shark Tank
Location: 106 Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven
Stadium (Capacity): Fraser Field (3,804)
Location: 365 Western Avenue, Lynn
Stadium (Capacity): Wahconah Park (4,500)
Location: 105 Wahconah Street, Pittsfield
Stadium (Capacity): Doyle Field
Location: 320 Hamilton Street, Leominster
Stadium (Capacity): Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field (3,000)
Location: 1 College Street, Worcester