As the calendar changes to 2019, it is crazy to think we are roughly 3 months away from Opening Day. This will be our 7th season, and after a 2018 season marred with rain, our appreciation and commitments to our teams have been renewed.
2018 had many hurdles, but amongst them our goal was to ensure you got what you paid for. We extended our Spring to see teams complete their 18 game regular seasons, and modified playoffs slightly to see it all play out as we promised. We realize that the season had its frustrations, however compared to others operating on the same schedules as us, we absolutely delivered more with the same harsh variables in place. Looking at the graphic below, you can see that our competitors shortened their seasons, and left more than 50% of teams with much less than they bargained for. They paid higher rates, were promised more games and ended up short changed in the end (many playing less than 18 games total). We saw 67% of our clubs play a complete 18 game schedule, and 94.7% play 17+ games. Closest in comparison was 21% & 38.7% respectively. We had the most Spring clubs by a large margin (32 teams), and in the end had only 18 games not played (vs 106 & 145 in respective competitor leagues). So while we did see some weather hinder our weekends, we stayed on course to deliver what we promised to our clubs. We played baseball... we didn't take that away from you, even when Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the fields.
So how do you measure success? Is it promising the same thing each year, staying true to the model, and then repeating? Keep the team counts as high as possible, thought is "more is better" right?
Not our mentality, never has been. When we started our league, our promise to the NJ/NY teams was to deliver something unique, something different, something that ultimately brought teams the best experience possible at the lowest cost. While we stand by that, 2018 put us on notice that we need to rethink our approach and make changes to improve play across all levels. We want to create the curve, not follow it.
Even with the frustrations and the overtime spent resolving weather related issues, we delivered unique opportunities to you in a Charity Home Run Derby and a 30 Inning Baseball Game, both raising money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. With your help we raised more than $3,000 in these fun events that brought the league together for a cause. We started to inject new experiences into our normal operations.
So here we are... 2019, a new year of possibilities.
After what we endured in 2018, we reached out to you for opinions, ideas and wanted feedback on how we would better retool for the next season. The response was overwhelming, and we are making changes to the 2019 season that will better deliver the experience you all want. Rule changes to the regular season, league modifications to create an even more competitive format and a new twist on our playoff structure that should have each team excited for the playoff madness in July/August. We will discuss all of this with you at our Winter Manager Meeting later this month (Jan 27th), but wanted to note early that this WILL be an incredible season.
Our All-Star Games return to TD Bank & Yogi Berra, we have a charity event scheduled at Palisades Credit Union Field, our Home Run Derby (sponsored by Fairview Bat Co & Birdman Bats) will return this year. We have additional ideas to enhance the experience, which should be rolled out shortly.
Get excited, the season is upon us and we are going to deliver one hell of a campaign in 2019!