Pioneer League's Orem Owlz Announce Potential Move To Colorado
Two years ago, the minor league underwent a dramatic shift when high Class A High Desert and Bakersfield moved from the California League to the Carolina League and became Down East and Buies Creek, respectively.
The changes are expected to continue next season, when Buies Creek moves off the Campbell University campus and into its new home in Fayetteville, N.C. That’s in addition to the planned opening of a Texas League franchise in Amarillo, and the Brewers’ Rookie-level affiliate’s move from Helena to Colorado Springs.
The Southern League’s Mobile BayBears have also announced their plans to move north to Madison, Ala. after the 2019 season. Now, there’s one more team to add to the mix.
The Rookie-level Orem Owlz of the Pioneer League announced on Wednesday that they would “possibly” move from Orem to Pueblo, Colo. in time for the 2020 season. This, the team said, would fulfill a lifelong dream of its owner, Jeff Katofsky.
“It has always been my dream to have a youth facility that could host tournaments and help develop young players from all over the country, including disadvantaged and special needs athletes," Katofsky said in a press release. “Pueblo, Colorado has embraced the concept and provided us with the opportunity to not only accomplish this legacy, but also to have a new stadium built for the Owlz.
“Utah County has been my family’s second home for almost 15 years. This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but this is an opportunity to involve and teach our kids baseball and, hopefully, leave a mark,” the owner continued. “We have loved our time in the Provo/Orem and surrounding communities. We are so grateful for the Owlz fans and community/corporate partners in which we have been associated.”
A move to Pueblo would put the franchise just 45 minutes away from its opponents in Colorado Springs, giving both squads a natural partner closer than the Grand Junction Rockies, which is roughly 300 miles away from both cities. It would, however, leave the Ogden Raptors as the lone Pioneer League team in Utah.
Under the Pueblo plan, Ogden’s nearest opponent would be Idaho Falls, which is 179 miles away. Each of the other six teams is more than 320 miles away.