Dear Northwoods League Fans,
Greetings and Happy Holidays from the office of the Northwoods League. Before the calendar turns another page ushering in a new year, we want to pause and thank you, our fans, for your continued support and patronage. Your support is integral to creating an environment in which players can thrive and communities can gather to enjoy this great game! And for the third consecutive year, more than 1 million fans joined in the fun of Northwoods League baseball.
As we look back over the highlights of 2016, we take pride that our league continues to expand fan engagement through technology. In June, we launched a new mobile app, which is currently available from both the App Store and Google Play. The app puts all the fan essentials – news, stats, tickets, live game action and schedules – at your fingertips and provides a foundation upon which we will continue to build and grow with new features. Also new in 2016, the use of HD technology in nine of our ballparks for their live, 4-camera, game webcast. We expect all 20 ballparks will be upgraded to HD before the start of the 2017 season, which not only enhances the viewing experience for subscribers but also provides a valuable training tool for coaches and players.
The heart of Northwoods League baseball continues to be the development of elite college baseball players. This year we saw a record-setting five (5) players drafted in the first round of MLB First-Year Player Draft, with 179 total current and former players selected overall. NWL alumni also left their mark in the Big Leagues this year, with former La Crosse Logger Max Scherzer picking up his second Cy Young Award, and former Wisconsin Woodchuck Ben Zobrist earning World Series MVP honors for the Chicago Cubs.
Our alumni weren’t alone in garnering national attention. The 2016 All-Star Game Home Run Derby, which featured eighteen of the league’s top sluggers hitting off the pier at Kenosha Harbor into Lake Michigan, was highlighted on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays and MLB.com Cut4. It was truly a memorable experience for players and fans alike. Sports Illustrated also recognized the Northwoods League when they named the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders the top new logo in minor league and summer collegiate baseball. The Dock Spiders join the Bismarck Larks as the newest members of the Northwoods League, with both beginning play in 2017.
With the addition of Bismarck and Fond du Lac, the Northwoods League now sits at 20 teams. And excitement for the new season across the Midwest is heating up – even amid the freezing temperatures of winter. You can check out the recently-released 2017 schedule HERE to make plans for an outing this summer. Or follow your favorite teams on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on player signings and promotions for the upcoming season. And just in case it’s been awhile since you’ve seen green grass and sunshine, check out our league video. It’s sure to put you in the mood for baseball season!
On behalf of President Gary Hoover, the Northwoods League Board of Directors, and everyone at the Northwoods League office, we would like to extend our wishes of Happy Holidays to you and your family.
-The Northwoods League