By Landan Kuhlmann
A Sept. 23 news release from Major League Baseball announced the Atlantic League, an independent professional league that includes the Sugar Land Skeeters, has been named as its first “partner league.”
The designation will expand the Atlantic League’s existing partnership with MLB and allows MLB to continue testing experimental rules and equipment during the Atlantic League season. In 2019, the league tested the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS) as well as rules allowing larger bases and limiting defensive shifting, mound visits and the duration of inning breaks.
“The Atlantic League is inspired by the evolution of its relationship with Major League Baseball and thrilled to be named their first Partner League,” Atlantic League President Rick White said in a news release. “We value MLB’s confidence in ALPB, and look forward to advancing our sport together.”
Teams in the Atlantic League are not affiliated with MLB organizations, which have affiliates in other minor leagues. The Atlantic League did not hold a 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Skeeters temporarily breaking from the league to hold their own four-team league that competed this summer at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.