Minor League Baseball announced today that, beginning in 2010, the Bowling Green and Lake County clubs will transfer their memberships from the South Atlantic League to the Midwest League.
The Bowling Green club, formerly known as the Columbus Catfish, is relocating from Georgia to Kentucky for the 2009 season. Club officials are holding a contest to name the team. The Tampa Bay Rays recently agreed to extend their player development contract with the Bowling Green club through 2010.
The Lake County Captains are in their sixth year as a South Atlantic League club in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Eastlake. The Captains relocated to their current home in 2003, after operating as the Columbus (Ga.) RedStixx from 1992 to 2002. An agreement was in place at the time of the move that the team would ultimately shift to the Midwest League. They had received a one-year variance from Minor League Baseball after each season as MILB continued to find a second team join the Captains in the Midwest League.
The switch addresses concerns over travel and provides better geographical alignments for the two low Class A leagues, league officials said in a press release.
But more changes could be on the way.
“The amount of travel involved with the South Atlantic League is no secret, and realignment is intended to address that issue,” South Atlantic League president Eric Krupa said in a press release. “The South Atlantic League owners recognize the overall, industry-wide aspects of realignment, even though the league itself will lose two solid clubs. Their willingness to cooperate with the desires of our partners at Major League Baseball in the realignment process is commendable. As we move forward, it is likely that scheduling challenges will require additional cooperation to maximize the intended impact of realignment.”