Over the years that I have studied baseball, I have never taken a close look at an amateur league. All the leagues I have looked at, in some way, classify themselves as a professional baseball team. I have heard a lot about another IBL over the past few days from Baseball in Israel, and its history is pretty interesting.
This IBL is the Intercounty Baseball League in Ontario, Canada. They are regarded for about level A ball. The IBL started in 1919 and has continued to live on until now. Denny Mclain and Pete Orr are just a few of the famous Major leaguers that have played for the Intercounty Baseball League. There are nine teams that play in the league and last year, 7 of their players got drafted by MLB teams. (Some of the teams include Barrie, Brantford, Hamiliton, and London)To give you an idea of their history, they are working on plans right now for an IBL Baseball Hall of Fame. (The IBL also classifies as an Independent League, but it still keeps its amateur title as well).
The story of Josh Matlow, that was posted by Baseball in Israel, is really interesting because it shows how far someone will go to chase the dream of baseball. Matlow in the span of a year has played across the world. He is not the only one, others like Rafael Bergstrom did a similar move in 2007 to play in a different IBL (Israel Baseball League).
Why do I like amateur leagues? Well I see them as that good side of baseball, that side away from the greed of the Major League empires. They have that same innocence about them as the Minor Leagues do, but to another level. So if you like the Minor Leagues because you dislike the greed and lack of enthusiasm in the majors, maybe you should give amateur leagues a try. The players in these leagues did not make the initial cut to make the minors and are really fighting to keep their dreams of playing baseball alive.
Now that I know more about the IBL, and hopefully you do now as well, they should be an interesting league to watch over the summer, and be another league to follow.