Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Blue Crabs Rival Coming To Dulles In 2012, Atlantic League Expansion About To Take Off

There’s the Lancaster Barnstormers and York Revolution. There’s the Bridgeport Bluefish and Long Island Ducks. And now the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs finally have a true geographic DC-Area rival in sight.

It has been announced the Loudoun Hounds, located in Loudoun County, Virginia (Dulles) will be joining the Atlantic League for the 2012 season. Located about 60 miles and just over an hour from Waldorf, Maryland, the Hounds will set up a natural rivalry with the Blue Crabs similar to the teams above.

(While the Blue Crabs welcome the Hounds to the league with open arms now, it should be pointed out that proximity has bred contempt with those other examples!)

The Hounds are the first Atlantic League franchise to be located in Virginia. Their home ballpark currently dubbed “The Dog Yard” is just one of many new developments in an expanding league. 2012 will also see a new franchise located in Sugar Land, Texas join the Atlantic League as well.

A suburb of Houston, Sugar Land is the first step in a planned western division of the Atlantic League in coming years. With this addition, 2012 will mark the first time teams in the ALPB will fly to games.

The Atlantic League has truly begun to transform into a third Triple-A league, taking into account the vast number of players on the circuit with Major League experience and the geographical expansion. The Triple-A International League includes franchises as north as Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and south as Lawrenceville, Georgia, and west as Indianapolis. The other Triple-A circuit, the Pacific Coast League, has become decidedly less “pacific” of late, with franchises as east as New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville in addition to teams in middle America and the west coast. The IL currently operates in 10 states, and the PCL in 13. So there is a precedent for spreading out a minor league, making the Atlantic League in Texas not far-fetched in the slightest.

With several other expansion projects for the Atlantic League potentially in the works, new franchises both on the east coast and to the west may be surfacing sooner than later. But for now, Blue Crabs fans are excited to treat themselves to short road trips to Dulles for the league’s newest rivalry with the Loudoun Hounds.

A traveling rivalry trophy may also be a possibility between the two franchises. Lancaster and York, located just 25 miles apart, battle for the “Community Cup,” a large silver trophy awarded to the winner of the season series between the two.

For more information on the Loudoun Hounds, visit them online at