The owner of a fledgling independent pro baseball league based in Canada is interested in bringing a team to Old Orchard Beach to play next summer at The Ballpark.

Colin Cummins said his East Coast Baseball League is looking to field eight teams next summer. After learning that OOB had recently lost its baseball franchise, Cummins made some inquiries and determined that OOB “would be a really good fit for us.”

The Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide played at The Ballpark the past four summers, the last three in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, a wooden-bat summer league.

Cummins said the ECBL would be considered the equivalent of high Class A in the organized minor leagues. The ECBL has just three teams – two located in Canada – and is in discussion with several cities. “We’re kind of in a holding pattern right now,” said Cummins, who is a sports agent. “But I think we’re in a good spot. If we get to eight (teams) that’s great. I think we can do it with six.”

Old Orchard Beach is a summer tourist destination for many Canadians. A team that has connections with Canada could be a good draw.

“I am very open to talking to (Cummings),” said Larry Mead, the town manager. “The connection with our Canadian visitors is intriguing and one I’ve thought about before. It’s a natural.”

Sharri MacDonald, a state representative from Old Orchard Beach, was one of the original volunteers who helped restore The Ballpark and is hopeful that baseball will return.

“I think a lot of us who started the revitalization want to see some team there next summer,” she said. “We brought that stadium back to life for baseball.”

The Ballpark had been home to the Triple-A Maine Guides from 1984-88. But after the Guides left, the stadium went unused for 15 years and fell into disarray, overcome with trees and shrubs and a rotting clubhouse.

A group of volunteers started to work on the stadium about five years ago, hoping to return baseball to The Ballpark. The Raging Tide arrived in the summer of 2011, playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League for one season before turning to the FCBL.

But after three years, owners John and Pam Gallo sold the franchise when they could no longer operate it on their own. They had sought other investors but found none. The team was relocated to Bristol, Connecticut.

Cummins said when he heard that the Raging Tide had departed, he contacted a former client, Dan McNamara, to get his opinion. McNamara is the manager of the Torrington (Connecticut) Titans of the FCBL. Cummins has yet to contact OOB officials, but plans to shortly.

Cummins, a former player in the independent Frontier League, said the East Coast Baseball League will play a 60-game schedule, be located in the Northeast and have 22-man rosters. He and his partners are starting the league to give more players a chance to play professionally.

“There’s a large amount of players that come out of college and don’t have a place to go and they’re good players,” he said. “It is a goal of mine and my partner to make sure we have a new place for players to go and potentially springboard them to the next level as well.”

MacDonald would like to be part of that.

“I think this might be the spark that we need to make things happen,” she said.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at [email protected]

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