Metropolitan Detroit is getting a brand new baseball league.
The United Shore Professional Baseball League is preparing for its inaugural season in the summer of 2016, and a big part of that is a new baseball stadium now under construction in Utica.
Andy Appleby is the founder of the USPBL.
"Minor league baseball has actually been a real national phenomenon for many many years, but for whatever reason, we in Metro Detroit have never had minor league baseball," says Appleby.
Appleby sees minor league baseball as a great avenue for family entertainment, focusing less on wins and losses, and more on the fun of the experience.
They’ve already broken ground on their new field in Utica, and Appleby says that as long as winter construction goes as planned, the USPBL will be starting three teams on Jimmy John’s Field in June 2016.
Appleby tells us the stadium will include 2,000 grandstand seats, another 2,000 seats in what they’re calling “corporate picnic areas,” as well as 22 suites.
“It has kind of all of the modern amenities of major league sports, but maybe at a minor league price,” he says.
He also says that the field and the league is almost entirely privately funded.
“About 98% of the ballparks in America are publicly funded, but in Metro Detroit we had a little bit of a deficit position in the sense that people didn’t know how great minor league baseball was,” Appleby says.
He tells us that the organization is also sensitive to the fact that the communities they’re talking to and working with aren’t exactly flush with cash.
“So we believed in it enough … to put our own money behind it,” he say.
The USPBL is holding a contest that will determine their teams’ names, and is accepting submissions until July 24, 2015.
You can submit your team name idea and keep track of developments in the United Shore Professional Baseball League on their website.