The Southwest League of Professional Baseball (SWL) is a professional independent baseball league scheduled to begin play in late spring of 2018. The first announced stadium location is in Bellmead, outside of Waco Texas.
About The Southwest League of Professional Baseball
The Southwest League of Professional Baseball is joining the ranks of the top independent leagues. The league, featuring teams to play in new multi-use facilities in Texas, will begin play in April, 2018. The league will look to expand to surrounding states in the coming years.
The league has named Mark Schuster as president. Schuster has owned and operated numerous minor league franchises, while focusing on building new ballparks in underserved markets.
“We have some tremendous markets that are excited about building new multi-purpose venues that will play host to minor league baseball and a myriad of other events. We will be introducing the cities over the coming weeks and months,” said Schuster.
Each SWL team will be announced in the near future followed by name the team contests and opening of season ticket season sales for each market. Each location will be the home of a new state-of-the-art multi-use stadium with seating capacity between 2000-4000 fans. Each new stadium will have a fan/social friendly design featuring amenities for all including Kids Zones, an array of food and beverage options, private party areas, interactive games, luxury suites and a state-of- the-art LED Videoboard.
Another key component of the plan involves an adjacent “Ballpark Village” that will include restaurant, commercial and other retail space.
“We’re thrilled to be moving into markets that are currently underserved.” Our commitment to our community partners is to enhance the quality of life by providing affordable family entertainment year round.”
The Southwest League, plans to play a 112 game schedule with 56 home games and 56 games on the road.
About Independent Professional Baseball
Independent professional baseball is different than Minor League Baseball™ in that the teams are “independent” of the MiLB system. Teams which are “independent” do not have an agreement to be a “farm club” (aka “minor league team”) for a specific Major League Baseball franchise. They still qualify, however, as professional baseball baseball in that players are paid; and many of the players will have previous professional experience: either from MiLB (“affiliated”) teams or other independent professional baseball leagues.
Independent professional leagues and teams a long history in North American professional baseball. The current version of independent professional baseball (aka “independent minor league baseball”) began in 1993 with the formation of two leagues. A surge in popularity of these independent leagues took place in the mid-1990’s; and over 300 independent baseball teams have taken the field since that time including teams in most of the continental United States (plus two teams in Hawaii), Canada and even Mexico.
The casual baseball fan may be interested in discovering that several unique happenings have occurred in the history of these independent baseball leagues since 1993 including:
- Famous celebrities and athletes from other sports who have been owners of these teams
- Over a dozen women who have either played, coached, managed or umpired in these leagues (click here for the list)
- Dozens of unique and memorable promotions have taken place in these leagues
- Over 40 players have started their careers in the professional independent leagues and ended up playing on a Major League team
- Dozens of well-known former Major Leaguers have managed or coached in the independent leagues
- The oldest player and pitcher to ever appear in a pro baseball game happened in independent league games
- Several books have been published about the independent professional baseball industry
- Local news personalities, from across the United States, over the years have reported on tryout camps from these teams and leagues
- Independent teams have been featured on major television networks and cable channels for promotions, unique food items, player stories and other newsworthy topics
We encourage you to become a fan of the Southwest League of Professional Baseball and other independent pro baseball leagues when you and your family and friends travel across North America. Thank you for considering us and for your interest in the SWL and the Waco BlueCats team!