ARCATA (Nov. 24, 2008) — Just as one train was derailing, another pulled alongside to keep the Humboldt Crabs’ plans to join a league on track.
The Crabs announced Monday that they will indeed join a league in 2009, but it will not be the Sierra Baseball League as planned. Instead, they will be a part of the West Coast League (WCL) Tri-State, a new offshoot of the West Coast League based in the Pacific Northwest, which includes the Corvallis Knights and the Bend Elks.
Crabs President Randy Robertson believes it’s an exciting time to be a Crabs fan as they head into their 65th consecutive season.
“There really is no better way to celebrate the legacy brought to us by the Bonomini and Barsuglia families than to see the Crabs playing baseball in a league again for the 2009 season,” said Robertson. “League play and the great competition could make for one of the most successful Crabs baseball seasons that north coast has experienced. I am really looking forward to the 2009 season.”
The makeup of the new league is nearly the same as the SBL Northern Division would have been. Joining the Crabs in the WCL Tri-State are the Redding Colt .45s, the Southern Oregon River Dogs, the Folsom Pioneers and the Sierra Bighorns. All five teams decided to change course after doubts arose about the leadership of the SBL.
The West Coast League, in contrast, impressed the Crabs board with its professional approach and ability to achieve the goals set out in its mission statement. So when they approached the Crabs and the other teams that had planned to be in the SBL with the idea to organize a new league under the WCL umbrella, they decided to give it a shot.
For the Crabs, this move is aimed at staying competitive in the ever-evolving world of summer collegiate baseball, both by ensuring good competition and boosting their recruiting position. The West Coast League’s success has made its teams more attractive to recruits, and all the league’s teams have gotten stronger as a result. The Crabs hope joining the WCL Tri-State will do the same for them.
“With the Crabs affiliation with the West Coast League through the Tri-State teams in 2009 I believe the Crabs will continue to bring exciting summer collegiate baseball to the North Coast,” said Robertson. “It will be a lot of fun to watch the standings and the head-to-head competition in league games.”
One thing that made the decision to join a league easier for the Crabs is that several of their “away” games will be played at the Arcata Ball Park. They are by far the best-drawing team in the league, and had been concerned about losing gate revenue when they go on the road.
The main West Coast League consists of two four-team divisions, the East and the West. The Knights won the West division last year with a 31-11 record. New this year are the five-team WCL Tri-State and the four-team WCL Portland, both of which will operate semi-independently under the WCL name.
Tri-State scores, schedules, standings, news and Players of the Week will all be available on the WCL Web site at http://www.westcoastleague.com/tri-state/.
The Crabs’ 65th season begins June 6, 2009, and their first league tilt will be July 1 against the Bighorns.