By SCOTT PURKS
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 1, 2001
The Women's Professional Softball League, which includes the Plant City-based Tampa Bay Firestix, is suspending play for the 2001 season with plans to resume a full schedule with at least six teams for the summer of 2002.
This summer the WPSL will feature two all-star teams playing on a barnstorming tour of 14 cities targeted as WPSL candidates. The teams will have players from the Sydney Olympics, and league officials are trying to set up competitions between the WPSL teams and China, Japan, Canada and Australia.
The WPSL was reduced from six teams to four for the 2000 season.
In 2002, WPSL franchises will be individually owned, as opposed to run by the league as it has been done since the WPSL started four years ago.
"We've proven through televised games (66 broadcasts in four years) that we have a program that people are interested in," WPSL commissioner John D. Carroll said. "We just haven't found the right markets to make the league go. We're looking for smaller markets that have a high school and youth base for softball. Places like Plant City."