Minor league baseball has been, for generations, a way for smaller communities around the United States to see professional baseball at affordable prices. Fans in several cities today, however, have seen the realities of the business of baseball up close, as two franchises will be changing addresses, and leagues as well.
Minor League Baseball has announced that there will be changes in the advanced “A” designation, as one league, the Carolina League, will add two teams for next season, with those teams coming from another league, the California League, whose size will drop by that same two teams.
MiLB announced that one of the Carolina League expansion teams will be located in Kinston, NC, which will mark a return of the league to that North Carolina city for the first time since the 2011 season. The second franchise will operate in a temporary location for 2017 and 2018, with the team likely ending up in Fayetteville, NC, permanently following that.
Kinston and the expected Fayetteville team will be replacing the California League’s High Desert Mavericks, located in Adelanto, CA, and Bakersfield Blaze. The blog Today’s Knuckleball reports that both teams have been battling attendance problems and stadium issues, and solutions were not found for either club to stay in their current markets.
The advanced “A” designation is one of several classifications of minor league professional baseball. There are a total of three leagues competing in that class. In addition to the Carolina and California Leagues, the Florida State League, comprised of teams from Florida, is also an advanced “A” league. Major league baseball teams affiliate with teams in these leagues to provide their prospects a place to play and hone their skills in preparation for promotion to higher classifications within the minors.