The United Shore Professional Baseball League was founded by Rochester-based General Sports and Entertainment, and is the culmination of a 10-year effort by General Sports to bring professional baseball to the Detroit area. General Sports is led by President & CEO Andy Appleby, a former Senior Vice President of the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment. General Sports previously owned and operated the Fort Wayne Wizards, a Minor League Baseball team in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the Derby County Football Club, an English football (soccer) club in the English Premier and Championship Football Leagues. The USPBL will give General Sports the opportunity to employ every best practice that its experienced team has learned over the past 30 years at the highest level of sports management and marketing.
The USPBL launched May 2016 with an initial slate of three teams playing a full 75-game schedule at Jimmy John’s Field in downtown Utica. The USPBL is the first league in history to feature best practices such as having all of its games played on prime dates, Thursday to Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day – the very finest months of weather in Michigan.
The USPBL was designed as an innovative developmental finishing school for players seeking to make it to the Majors. The teams are comprised of top level college baseball players from around the country. The finishing school consists of state of the art coaching, the very best in musculoskeletal training and strength and conditioning programs, the latest advances in sabermetrics and video analysis, as well as a focus on personal development off the field.
The quality of the players and the baseball is very high, and USPBL players are scouted regularly by major league teams. The 2016 season was an unqualified success, as 9 USPBL players were picked up by Major League organizations during the league’s first year of operation.
USPBL Players Signed by Major League organizations in 2016:
- Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers Pitcher Ross Vance was signed by the Louis Cardinals.
- Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers Infielder Aaron Bossi was signed by the New York
- Eastside Diamond Hoppers Pitcher Chris McDonald and Utica Unicorns Pitchers Evan Piechota and Andrew Potter were all signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates
- Eastside Diamond Hoppers First Baseman Dalton DiNatale was signed by the Los Angeles
- Utica Unicorns Pitcher Mitch Aker was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
- Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers Pitcher Hawtin Buchanan was signed by the Cincinnati
- Utica Unicorns Outfielder Austin Crutcher was signed by the Chicago White Sox
- Eastside Diamond Hoppers Pitcher Mitchell Osnowitz was signed by the Boston Red Sox
In 2017, the USPBL will feature four teams playing at Jimmy John’s Field in downtown Utica – the original three teams – the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers, the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers – and the league’s new, fourth team the Westside Woolly Mammoths.
As the USPBL develops additional ballparks in the years to come, every ballpark will always feature two home teams, which will give our league the benefit of having home games every weekend and on only the best days of the week (Thursday to Sunday) and in the very best months for weather in Michigan.