California And Carolina Leagues Realign In 2017
On Monday afternoon, it was offically announced by Minor League Baseball that there would be realignments among the California and Carolina Leagues.
The California League will lose two teams at the conclusion of the 2016 season, the Bakersfield Blaze (Seattle Mariners) and the High Desert Mavericks (Texas Rangers). While both teams are nearing their final homestands at their prespective stadiums, the Blaze are currently leading the North Division in the second half of the season as they eye the playoffs and the Mavericks were the South Division Champions which clinched them a post-season appearance.
Both the Blaze and the Mavericks were playing in stadiums that were deemed “inadequate” and not “fulfilling fans’ needs). Since no decision or agreement could be made, both teams’ time at their stadiums will officialy come to a close.
With the California League now dropping from ten teams to eight for the first time in over two decades, the Carolina League will now increase by two more teams at the start of the 2017 season.
The first team will call Grainger Stadium in Kinston, North Carolina their new home. The Kinston team (which does not have an official name yet) will be a Class-A Affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Kinston has had a few Minor League teams through the years with the most recent run from 1978-2011. The Rangers have agreed to a twelve year deal with Kinston so that city will once again become a minor babseball area.
As for the location of the second team, there is still some speculation as to the official site but Fayetteville, North Carolina semes to be the front runner.
If Fayetteville is the determined location for the Class-A team, it seems that the Houston Astros have shown extreme interest in bringing their organization to the Carolina League.
If fans would like to vote for the official team name or to buy season tickets for the upcoming inaugural season, visit the official Kinston Baseball website.