On Wednesday, it was announced that the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball would be the first “Partner League” for Major League Baseball. By Thursday morning, news the American Association and Frontier League partnering with MLB came as well.
As a Partner League, the three leagues will regularly meet with MLB to discuss joint marketing and promotional opportunities, which will include the leagues shared goals of providing baseball to communities throughout the United States and Canada.
“We are excited to extend our relationship with the Atlantic League. Which provides us a unique means to push the sport forward.” Said Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations.
Huge news from the Atlantic League and MLB!!! https://t.co/UMVwRUdrR7— Atlantic League (@AtlanticLg) September 23, 2020
Sword continued, the next day: “We welcome the American Association and Frontier Leagues as Partner Leagues, and look forward to working with them toward our shared goal of expanding the geographic reach of baseball.”
In 2019, MLB and ALPB partnered to successfully test the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS), which used radar tracking technology to assist home plate umpires. On top of using ABS, the league tested rules that limited defensive shifting, mound visits, shortening inning breaks, and yes, larger bases.
“The Atlantic League is inspired by the evolution of its relationship with Major League Baseball and thrilled to be named their first Partner League.” ALPB President Rick White said during Wednesday’s press release.
White continued: “We value MLB’s confidence in ALPB and look forward to advancing our sport together.”
The American Association and Frontier League share the excitement of White and the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
Our "Major" news: @AA_Baseball is officially a Partner League of @MLB!— American Association (@AA_Baseball) September 24, 2020
We are proud to be part of the MLB family and look forward to great things moving forward for our league, our clubs, our players, and our fans! #WePlayToWinhttps://t.co/jJnXRVfZdf pic.twitter.com/YN2JNW8Bwi
“We look forward to our partnership with MLB incorporating the American Association into the MLB family. To grow America’s Pastime, it’s critical to bring all stakeholders in professional baseball to the table,” said American Association Commissioner Joshua Schaub.
Schaub continued in the September 24 press release: “We believe this association with Major League Baseball will culminate in a comprehensive agreement that will grow baseball and shine an even brighter light on the American Association. The American Association has already established itself as a premier professional league in North America, this partnership will only enhance the American Association’s statue among the professional baseball world.”
From the Frontier League, Commissioner Bill Lee shared the same sentiment. “The Frontier League is honored to become a Partner League with Major League Baseball. This partnership will be beneficial in growing our great game of baseball in all of our United Stares and Canadian markets. Our teams and fans will all be excited to see the league grow in years to come. The Frontier League began in 1993, to have a relationship with Major League Baseball, is one of the greatest moments in League history.”