Release the Hounds
Since you’re probably a die-hard Revolution/Atlantic League fan if you’re reading this blog, you’ve heard about the Loudoun Hounds. If you’re a Simpsons fan, you’re laughing at my clever headline writing. At the moment, the Hounds, to be located in Dulles, Virginia (Loudoun County) are an expansion team in the works with all the logos and a website, but unfortunately no ballpark to play in…yet. Their website is one of the more interesting I’ve come across in the industry, not only in its look, but for its unique writing style which is pretty entertaining. It’s hard to describe, but check it out for yourself here. Loudoun originally planned to join the league next season, which would’ve put the circuit at 10 and kept the Road Warriors in the fold with the addition of the Sugar Land Skeeters. (Must have an even number for scheduling purposes, which is why the National League has 16 teams and the American League 14, in case you’ve wondered).
Unfortunately by mid-summer, ground hadn’t been broken on the team’s ballpark yet, known simply as “The Dog Yard” for now, unlike Sugar Land. (Ground has still not been broken on the stadium, but work has begun on the larger housing/retail development where the ballpark will be located.) So it was announced that the Atlantic League would remain a league of eight in 2012, with Sugar Land replacing the Road Warriors. ** Now that the 2012 schedule is out, Loudoun has adjusted the countdown to opening day clock on their website to April of 2013, as at one point it was the same as Sugar Land’s. Hopefully there are no more delays and Loudoun is indeed ready to join the league by 2013. Whether or not that means the Road Warriors would return to facilitate a 10-team league; well it’s too early to tell what the league might look like in 18 or 19 months. A lot could happen before opening day 2013, potential new expansion markets are always being talked about.
If you’re interested, here are some more links on the subject from LoudounHounds.com:
Most interesting factoid from the above link, and something I hadn’t thought of yet:
Now, by owning banners and bragging rights two years running, York (est. 2007) has the highest ratio of ‘Championships Won’ to ‘Seasons Played’ in the league at 40%. (Somerset has won five titles in 14 years.)
That’s right Somerset. Boom, roasted. And thanks, Hounds.
That’s true, as any fan in York will tell you who waited patiently year after year for the Revs to arrive after Mayor Charlie Robertson first broached the subject of minor league baseball returning to the city in 1994-ish.
Needless to say, the Revolution and the rest of the ALPB can’t wait for Loudoun to be in the league. The Virginia portion of the Washington D.C. suburbs would give Southern Maryland a natural rival similar to the York-Lancaster series, and Dulles is actually a bit of a shorter drive from York than Waldorf, Maryland where the Blue Crabs play, dependent on traffic of course. Should the league continue to expand and eventually have three divisions, with a western division in the works with Sugar Land being the first step, the idea of a division grouping York, Lancaster, Southern Maryland and Loudoun would be delicious, for rivalries and easy travel.
**Although the Skeeters have taken the Road Warriors place in the league, the divisional set-up for next year is still TBA. It’s not a given that Sugar Land will replace them in the Freedom Division. One or more teams may be switching divisions. There is a league meeting planned for early November where this and other stuff will be discussed. Due to the Atlantic League playing a balanced schedule, where you play the other seven teams 20 times apiece for the 140 games, a new divisional set-up would make no difference to the schedule. Stay tuned.