Tuesday, June 2nd is Opening Day for the 2015 Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League season. With the introduction of a two (2) division format this year, the ten (10) returning teams in the Cal Ripken League will play an unbalanced, forty (40) game regular season schedule. The Northern Division will consist of the defending League Champion Baltimore Redbirds, Baltimore Dodgers, Gaithersburg Giants, Rockville Express and Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. The Southern Division is manned by the defending regular season champion Bethesda Big Train, Alexandria Aces, DC Grays, Herndon Braves and Vienna Riverdogs. Teams within the division will play each other five (5) times (two (2) games at home, three (3) games on the road against two squads, and three (3) games at home, two (2) games on the road versus the other two division foes). Out of division, the teams will play four games, two (2) at home and two (2) on the road, to complete the forty (40) game schedule.
The regular season is slated to run through Saturday, July 25th. Except for Opening Day, subsequent Tuesdays are set aside for makeup games in the event of inclement weather. In addition, the Cal Ripken League is not slated to play on Thursday, June 25th; July 4th and 5th during the Independence Day weekend; and July 13th and 14th prior to the Cal Ripken League All Star Game on Wednesday July 15th. The League is once again excited to have the All Star Game hosted at Shirley Povich Field, home of the Bethesda Big Train, for the 5th consecutive year.
The playoffs are scheduled to begin on Sunday, July 26th, with six (6) teams qualifying as in previous years. However, the division format will change how teams qualify. The top two (2) finishers in each division will clinch playoff berths with the final two (2) slots filled by the two (2) remaining teams with the best overall records, independent of assigned division. Based on records, the two (2) division winners will be seeded #1 and #2. Likewise, the division runner-up’s will be seeded #3 and #4. The two (2) remaining wildcard teams will then be seeded #5 and #6. After single elimination games between the #3 and #6 seeds, and the #4 and #5 seeds, the playoffs will continue with best of three semifinal and championship series, culminating no later than Sunday, August 2nd.
Reference the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League website throughout the year to confirm game times, especially in the event of postponements due to inclement weather. While the majority of the leagues games are played at 7 PM, the Baltimore Redbirds start their home games at 6:30 PM and the Bethesda Big Train wait until 7:30 PM for their first pitch. Several teams have different start times on Sundays and make-up games, whether as a single games or as part of a doubleheader, may also start at non-standard times.
Hope to see you at the ballpark!