Erie BayHawks 2009-10 Schedule: At First Glance

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Things have been slow on the D-League front since the end of Summer League, but that changed today when the D-League released its official schedule for the 2009-10 season, which tips off Friday, November 27.

Check out the BayHawks' schedule or view the complete D-League schedule.

The first thing that sticks out about the new schedule is that it makes no pretense of being a balanced schedule. Whereas the NBA schedule is pretty formulaic—one home and away with each team from the other conference, more games played against divisional opponents—the D-League schedule is a bit less predictable.

So it is that of 15 possible opponents, Erie plays only 13 of them with no games scheduled against Los Angeles or Reno. The unbalanced scheduling doesn't end there, however. Twenty of Erie's 50 games (that's 40 percent of the games for you math whiz kids) will be played against either Fort Wayne or Iowa. Meanwhile Erie will play just one game against five teams: Albuquerque, Austin, Bakersfield, Idaho, and Utah.

I understand the rationale that this saves teams on travel costs, and in a tough economy, it makes sense for a league, especially a minor league where teams may be struggling even harder to turn a profit, to make some changes. But as a fan, it is a little frustrating to know that I won't have the opportunity to see a handful of D-League players in person this season.

Also, while I like the idea behind the thinking that they can create regional rivalries by heavily scheduling nearby teams against one another, but I'm just not convinced that these rivalries will catch on given the lack of continuity that tends to exist from one season to the next in minor league sports. Trust me, I'd like to be proven wrong, but consider me a skeptic on this one.

For the record, here's the breakdown of Erie's games for the upcoming 2009-10 season:

  • 10 vs. Fort Wayne
  • 10 vs. Iowa
  • 7 vs. Maine
  • 5 vs. Springfield
  • 4 vs. Dakota
  • 3 vs. Sioux Falls
  • 2 vs. Tulsa
  • 2 vs. Rio Grande Valley
  • 1 vs. Albuquerque
  • 1 vs. Austin
  • 1 vs. Bakersfield
  • 1 vs. Idaho
  • 1 vs. Utah
The new schedule also comes with the announcement that the D-League will have two conferences this year as opposed to the three-division format it used last season. Again, in an effort to keep team travel expenses in mind, the D-League did its best to separate the conferences geographically into the Eastern and Western Conference. The only problem is that the league was split nine in the west and seven in the east (thank you Springfield and Maine expansion). And though I'm no cartographer, Sioux Falls could certainly make a case that it could be in the West as well since it is—longitudinally speaking—in a location about as far west as the teams playing in Texas.

Anyway, this seven to nine discrepancy might not seem like a big deal, but as Ridiculous Upside's Jon L astutely noted in his breakdown of the schedule release/conference realignment earlier today, the new team in Frisco, Texas, next season is likely to be added to the Western Conference as well, and having 10 out of 17 teams in one conference just seems excessive. But I guess that's a problem for next year's decision makers.

In the meantime...

One thing I do like about the schedule is the weekend games catering to families. The home game breakdown is as follows: 6 Friday games, 6 Saturday games, 5 Wednesday games, 3 Sunday games, 2 Thursday games, and 2 Tuesday games. Hopefully playing more games on weekend dates will bring in more fans to watch the games.

I was also pleased and relieved to read that NBA FutureCast will continue to stream all of the D-League games FREE, so if I can't see the D-Fenders and Bighorns in person, I can check them out online if I'm so inclined.

So yes, there are some question marks heading into the new season, but more importantly, two big questions have been put to rest. When does the season start? November 27. When is Erie's first home game? Saturday, December 12. (Yes, they begin the year with a four-game roadtrip before hosting Maine for three straight.)

The bottom line is that while the schedule may not be perfect, it gives D-League fans something to look forward to. Let the countdown begin: 105 days until the D-League and the Erie BayHawks are back in action!


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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