The Atlantic League on Monday announced changes to the alignments of its Liberty and Freedom divisions for the 2014 season.
The Somerset Patriots and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs will swap divisions. The Liberty Division will now consist of the Long Island Ducks, Camden Riversharks, Bridgeport Bluefish and Somerset, while the Freedom Division will feature the York Revolution, Lancaster Barnstormers, Sugar Land Skeeters and Southern Maryland.
Revs' manager Mark Mason didn't make much of the change when reached by phone Monday.
"I really don't think it impacts anybody, only because we play everybody 20 times. With a balanced schedule, I don't think it's an issue at all," Mason said. "If it was an unbalanced schedule, maybe (it would be factor), because you would play teams more in your division. I think the alignment is good."
Mason said the decision to alter division alignments was made by league officials and franchise owners.
Southern Maryland has been a member of the Atlantic League since 2008. Its best seasons came in 2009, when the Blue Crabs finished as runner-up in the Atlantic League Championship Series, and 2010, when the Crabs put together a 82-57 overall mark. Since then, Southern Maryland has gone a combined 199-202.
Somerset, a member of the league since 1999, won five league titles from 2001 to 2009, and after a pair of down seasons in 2011 and 2012, went 90-49 in 2013.
According to the league's news release sent out Monday, the new division alignment is in preparation for the league's plans to add a Western Division. The league hopes to expand from eight to 12 teams in the coming years.
"This division alignment prepares the Atlantic League for the creation of the Western Division as teams are added in Texas, and other markets, over the next few years," league president Peter Kirk said in the news release. "It will also create a well-balanced travel schedule and continue to enhance fun (and) local rivalries amongst the four Liberty Division teams, which are within close proximity of one another."
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.