10/13/2009 1:49 PM -
Entering its’ 18th season since emerging as a fledgling independent league in 1993, the Northern League of Professional Baseball will play a 100-game schedule in 2010. The regular season will start on Thursday, May 20th and extend through Labor Day on Monday, September 6th. Each team will play 100 games in 110 days with no halves and one division with the top four teams advancing to the playoffs which will begin on Wednesday, September 8th.
The eight-team league will boast a new stadium in Lake County, Illinois, which will be the home of the Lake County Fielders, an expansion club co-owned by actor Kevin Costner. That club will participate in a dispersal draft of players on October 22nd at noon CST. Via the dispersal draft, the Fielders will begin building their roster by acquiring 12 players from the rosters of the six clubs that ended the 2009 season. Each of the six clubs have protected 11 players on their roster from the 2009 season with all remaining players being eligible to be chosen by the Lake County club. The draft will last two rounds with each club losing two players.
The defending champion Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Winnipeg Goldeyes, Gary SouthShore RailCats, Joliet JackHammers, Schaumburg Flyers and Kansas City T-Bones return from 2009 along with the Rockford RiverHawks, who have joined the NL from the Frontier League, where they participated in the playoffs in four of the last five years. The RiverHawks will play their home games at four year old Road Ranger Stadium.
The 2010 Northern League All-Star Game will be held on Wednesday, July 14th, the night following the Major League All-Star Game, which will be held in Anaheim. The NL has yet to determine the site of its’ game.
Approval and announcement of the 2010 schedule is expected near the end of this month.