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Senior baseball league will have six teams after all

Things have changed in the Senior Professional Baseball Association. But in the end, everything has stayed just about the same. SPBA founder and president Jim Morley said Tuesday that the league will have, as originally planned, six teams for the upcoming second season, which begins the day after Thanksgiving.

The six teams will be in St. Petersburg; Fort Myers; Daytona Beach; Sun City, Ariz.; and San Bernardino, Calif.; with another team located somewhere in south Florida.

Last week, the league dropped the West Palm Beach Tropics because of ownership problems and then considered dropping expansion team San Bernardino to make scheduling easier and ensure financial stability for the league.

But Morley said Tuesday that a group of investors he did not want to identify stepped forward and agreed to help the league subsidize the Tropics franchise.

"Right now, we're not positive where the Tropics will play, but they are alive and well," Morley said. "They may play in West Palm, maybe in Pompano (Beach), but somewhere in south Florida. The problem is that the stadium deal in West Palm is not a good one. So everyone is trying to find out where the best deal is. But there will be six teams."

Morley said the league considered dropping San Bernardino last week, but was leaning toward letting the team play before the investors stepped forward to revitalize the Tropics.

"Once that happened, it made our decision to allow San Bernardino to play easier," Morley said. "Last week, I didn't think they would be in the league, but things changed and the bottom line is we have six teams, just like we planned."

Note: The St. Petersburg Pelicans will hold an open tryout for all players 32 and older at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Huggins-Stengel Field (1320 Fifth St. N., St. Petersburg). Players must bring their own spikes and gloves and pay a $15 registration fee. Pelicans manager Bobby Tolan and coaches Dock Ellis and Ozzie Virgil Sr. will conduct the tryout. For information, call the Pelicans at 896-0099.

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