The Texas Collegiate League has announced the highlights of its 2010 season schedule. Among the most notable are the addition of a new expansion franchise, an expanded 56-game schedule, a new split-season format, and the return of the TCL All-Star Game.
The season will kick off on Wednesday, June 2, with the campaign coming to a close on Saturday, August 7. Each club host 28 games at home, with the remaining 28 contests on the road. Teams will engage in two-game series, with Sunday serving as a weekly league-wide off-day.
At 56 games, the schedule is the longest in the TCL’s seven-year history. The circuit had used a 48-game schedule since 2005.
The expanded schedule brings with it a split-season format, a first for the TCL. At the midpoint of the season, the league will crown a first-half division champion. All win-loss records are then reset to 0-0 for the second half of the season. The team with the league’s best record in the second half will be named the TCL’s second-half division champion.
A split-season format is not uncommon in minor league baseball. More than a dozen professional leagues and several of the top summer collegiate circuits split their season into two halves. The benefit is that teams that struggle to open the season still have a chance to reach the playoffs, maximizing competitiveness, excitement, and fan interest. A split season becomes even more logical in summer collegiate ball, where players from top programs can be unavailable early in the season because of the NCAA playoffs.
The first- and second-half champions will be joined in the TCL playoffs by a pair of wild card teams. The postseason will again feature two rounds; winners of the best-of-three divisional round will meet in the three-game TCL Championship Series.
Teams will be looking to unseat the defending champion Coppell Copperheads, who have captured three of the six titles in TCL history.
Marking the midpoint of the season will be the 2010 TCL All-Star Game. The All-Star Game is scheduled for Monday, July 5, and it will be hosted by the Victoria Generals. The showcase, which brings together the league’s best players, is eagerly anticipated by fans and major league scouts alike.
The Generals organization expects to be doubly busy this summer. In addition to hosting the TCL All-Star Game, the team’s ownership group will also be launching an expansion franchise. The destination of the new team will be determined in the next several weeks, with several southern locations under consideration.
The new club makes 2010 the fourth consecutive season the TCL has added an expansion franchise. The Brazos Valley Bombers joined the league in 2007, followed by the East Texas Pump Jacks in 2008. Victoria came into the fold last summer and took the league by storm, winning the regular season title and advancing to the TCL Championship Series.
The full season schedule will be announced shortly and will be available for download from the league’s official web site, www.tclbaseball.com.