The United Shore Professional Baseball League, metro Detroit’s first independent professional baseball league, has announced the name of its new team, the Westside Wooly Mammoths. The Westside Wooly Mammoths will play the 2017 season at Jimmy John’s Field just west of downtown Utica, along with the league’s three original teams, the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers, and the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers.
“There have been numerous Mastodons found in Michigan over the last 100 years, and I always thought ‘Mastodons’ had great potential as a sports team name,” says Andy Appleby, USPBL founder and commissioner. “’Woolly Mammoth’ was better, although one had not been discovered here.
“Then, in 2015, a mammoth, complete with huge tusks, was unearthed on a farm in Chelsea, Michigan and our inspiration was complete. In addition to being distinctive, the ‘Woolly Mammoths’ name also allows for a whole host of fun marketing and merchandising opportunities.”
Shane McCatty, who served as assistant manager of the league champion Utica Unicorns in 2016, will manage the Westside Woolly Mammoths.
Founded last year by Rochester-based General Sports and Entertainment, the league was designed as a developmental finishing school for players seeking to make it to the major leagues, and nine players did so during USPBL’s first year of operation. Tens of thousands of fans attended the teams’ inaugural season at Jimmy Johns Field, and over 500 charities leveraged the USPBL and Jimmy John’s Field for various fundraising efforts in 2016.
This year, the USPBL’s season will begin on May 11 and run through Sept. 10, with games played every Thursday through Sunday. The league hopes the combination of talent, affordability, and familiarity will continue to appeal to families looking for a day or evening at the ballpark, which has room for up to 4,500 fans per game.
The USPBL plans to expand further, adding additional teams and stadiums throughout the Midwest, including a potential second ballpark in metro Detroit.