The Metropolitan League (or, Metro League, abbreviated as ML) is one of two subleagues that make up the major-level Bull League. It was formed in 1991, developing out of the former Southern League, which had existed from October 1989, though many of those original teams were disbanded. From 1991 until 2018, it was known as the American Eagle League, or AEL.
At the end of each regular season a playoff series is held to determine a league champion. The winner of the MLCS goes on the contest the Bull Cup Championship Series against the championship team from the Lake League.
The league adopted the designated hitter rule in 2002.
Former Southern League
The American Eagle League was created in 1991 to replace the former Southern League. The AEL would not be geographically restricted to the Great Lakes and Northeastern states and provinces, as the Lake League was. Many of the original teams in the Southern League were disbanded, as the overall size of the Bull League was reduced from 20 teams to just 12 (six in each of the two constituent leagues).
The original Southern League contained ten teams, also organized into an East and a West division, each with five teams. These teams were:
|Detroit Lakes||Cleveland Natives|
|Houston Keystones||Kansas City Cattle|
|Philadelphia Cubs||Atlantic City Invaders|
|Picton Mounties||North Chicago Batmen|
|Richmond Raiders||Oakland Braves|
Formation of the American Eagle League
Of the original ten Southern League teams, only the Richmond Raiders survived, and was renamed to the Richmond Ravens for 1991, on the formation of the Eagle League (later renamed the current name, American Eagle League).
The Ravens had originally been located in Richmond, Virginia from 1989 to 1990, and moved to Richmond, California for the 1991 season. To make up the other five teams in the American Eagle League, four were moved from the former Central League: California Tidals, Chicago Knights, Nevada Speeders and the Seattle Salts. The fifth team to make up the original six team AEL was the newly-formed San Diego Seagulls.
From 1991 to 1993, the AEL did not use the DH rule. It was finally going to be adopted for the 1994 season, but then there was a labor stoppage and no baseball was played that year. When the league expanded and reformed for 1995, the AEL reverted to not using the DH rule. It would not be until 2001 that the AEL would once again adopt the DH rule.
During the 1995 expansion, two teams were added to the AEL: Calgary and Denver. Calgary became the first (and still the only) Canadian team in the AEL.
Another expansion occurred in 2012, in which four teams were added to the Bull League, three in the AEL. This coincided with the re-alignment of Chicago moving to the Lake League, and the Richmond Ravens moving to Jacksonville and thus the East division.
At the end of the 2018 season, the league was renamed to the Metropolitan League (or Metro League), as part of a new reorganization and direction that placed an emphasis on larger urban centers as the base cities for the teams in the league.
There were six teams in the original American Eagle League in 1991, of which only one had previously been a part of the former Southern League. All six remain today, although one (Chicago) has moved to the Lake League, and two have moved to new cities since 1991.
- California Tidals (name and locale unchanged since 1991, had been in the Central League's west division prior to that)
- Chicago Knights (Originally from the Central League's east division and moved to the AEL in 1991, they since moved to the Lake League's west division in 2012)
- Nevada Speeders
- Richmond Ravens (Only original Southern League team, known as Richmond Raiders until 1991)
- San Diego Seagulls (Formed in the AEL east in 1991, now the Houston Oilers)
- Seattle Salts (Originally from the Central League's west division and moved to the AEL in 1991, name and locale unchanged since then)
Expansion, renaming and relocation summary
- 1995: Calgary Chinooks and Denver Highlanders formed as expansion teams
- 1995: California Tidals moved to the west division
- 1995: Chicago renamed to the Chicago Pit Bulls
- 2010: Calgary renamed to Calgary Inferno
- 2012: Arizona Cowboys, Dallas Lawmen, and Norfolk Sharks join as expansion teams
- 2012: Richmond moves to Jacksonville, Florida, and is renamed to Jacksonville Ravens and moves from the West division to the East division
- 2012: Chicago Pit Bulls are moved to the Lake League's West division
- 2017: Dallas renamed to Dallas Deputies
- 2017: Denver renamed to Denver Danger
- 2017: San Diego relocates to Anchorage, Alaska, and is renamed to Anchorage Aces
- 2018: Kingston Cannons relocated to Miami, Florida and joined AEL East, renamed to the Miami Storm
- 2018: Jacksonville Ravens relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota (in the LL West) and were renamed Minneapolis Ravens
- 2019: Denver Danger relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and renamed Philadelphia Liberty Warriors
- 2020: Philadelphia Liberty Warriors relocated to Washington, DC, and renamed to Washington Freedom
- 2022: St. Petersburg Admirals relocated following 2022 season to Houston, TX, renamed to Houston Oilers
- 2025: Two new teams added in an expansion, Atlanta Fire Ants and Denver Grizzlies
- 2025: Arizona Cowboys (formerly in the ML West) relocated to Kansas City, MO and became the Kansas City Blizzard. Calgary Inferno realigned to ML West.
- 2025: Nevada Speeders became the Las Vegas Lightning
Metropolitan League East Division
See article: Metropolitan League East
- Atlanta Fire Ants, introduced as an expansion team for 2025.
- Houston Oilers, founded in 1991 as the San Diego Seagulls, they have been through several evolutions, as well as stints in both divisions.
- Kansas City Blizzard, formerly Arizona Cowboys of the ML West, relocated and renamed prior to 2025 season
- Miami Storm, established in 1995 as the Kingston Battlements (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) in the LL East division, they were renamed to the Kingston Cannons and then realigned and relocated, becoming the Miami Storm (2018).
- Washington Freedom, founded as the Denver Highlanders in 1995, before being renamed to Denver Danger (2017). Left Denver in a brief relocation, becoming the Philadelphia Liberty Warriors (2019). Finally moved again to Washington, D.C., becoming the Washington Freedom (2020).
Metropolitan League West Division
See article: Metropolitan League West
- Calgary Calicos, moved from ML East prior to 2025. Renamed from Inferno after 2025.
- California Tidals, founded in 1989 in the former Central League West division and originally placed in the American Eagle League's East division (1991) when that league took the place of the Central League, despite being located on the west coast in Los Angeles, Calif. Later, realigned to the West division (1995).
- Denver Grizzlies, established prior to the 2025 season as an expansion team.
- Las Vegas Lightning, like California, was founded in 1989 and originally in the Central League until moving to the American Eagle League West when that league replaced the Central League. Realigned into the East division (1995), before being moved back to the West again during expansion (2012). Renamed from Nevada Speeders after the 2025 season.
- Seattle Salts, founded in Seattle, Wash. in 1989 and placed in the American Eagle League West division when that league formed (1991) and have remained there ever since.
- Dallas Re-Brands to Deputies. Bull Baseball League website. http://bullleague.org/league-news/dallas-re-brands-to-deputies/. 13 February 2017. Accessed: 27 July 2017.
- Denver Renamed to Danger. Bull Baseball League website. http://bullleague.org/highlights/denver-renamed-to-danger/. 28 March 2017. Accessed: 27 July 2017.
- So Long San Diego, Hello Anchorage. Bull Baseball League website. http://bullleague.org/league-news/so-long-san-diego-hello-anchorage/. 30 November 2016. Accessed: 27 July 2017.