Some of the Sacramento area's summer collegiate baseball teams are going through changes this year.
The Sacramento Stealth, Lodi Crushers, and Marysville Gold Sox have joined the Great West League. It is a wooden-bat league. The goal is to prepare college players for professional baseball.
Michael Mink is the Gold Sox General Manager. He says the teams want the league to become a summer destination for Division I college players, and for professional organizations looking for talent.
"For the scouts, it's going to be able to give them a great judge with using a wood bat and see them playing six games a week, can they play the rigors of minor-league baseball professionally."
More than 70 former Gold Sox players have gone on to play at some level of professional baseball.
The Chico Heat, Medford Rogues and Portland Pickles will also play a 60-game season in the Great West League.
According to Mink, fans will have a dozen fewer home games on the new schedule, but the quality of the opposition will be much improved from past seasons.
"We've always had good players here with the Gold Sox," he says. "We've got some teams coming in with some great ballplayers. You got guys in Oregon and Portland and Chico. They're going to be loaded with Division I talent. It's not going to be your 14-1 scores anymore. They're going to be tight ball games."
The Gold Sox will petition to have their home field, Colusa Casino Stadium, added to the state and national registries of historic places. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson all played in Marysville during exhibitions when the city had a semi-pro team in the early-to-mid 1900's.
The league begins play in June.