The Golden Baseball League expands into Mexico with the addition of a locally owned Tijuana franchise, becoming the first independent league to have teams in three countries.
The Golden Baseball League (GBL) announced the addition of the Tijuana Potros for the 2009 season. The team received the official lease to the 18,000-seat Cerro Colorado stadium last week and has finalized all Operating Rights Agreements with the GBL. The 2008 Tijuana Potros team was disbanded by the Mexican League and their franchise relocated to the city of Reynosa in early December, opening up the market for the GBL to place an expansion team.
"We are thrilled that we were able to finalize this deal to bring pro baseball back to the fans of Tijuana and to bring such an exciting team to the GBL and the cities that they will visit," said Kevin Outcalt, Commissioner of the Golden Baseball League. "Tijuana is a great baseball city and will attract a very high quality of player to delight their tremendous fan base and business supporters."
The new ownership group is headed by Jose "Peluchin" Pena, who has worked in professional baseball for the last 20 years. They will continue the historic name of Potros for the team, but have developed a new logo, brand, and color scheme which has just been introduced. The manager will be Mexican Baseball Hall of Famer Mario Mendoza, his pitching coach is Mexican Baseball Hall of Famer Jose "Peluche" Pena, and his bench coach is Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Jorge Pitch.
A founding sponsor for the team is also in place as Tijuana Brewery has signed on to a significant multi-year deal, in excess of six figures per season, that will also include sponsor opportunities for many of the U.S.-based teams in the GBL markets where Tijuana Beer is distributed.
"A Tijuana team brings the GBL many benefits," said GBL CEO and President David Kaval. "Not only will it be exciting for the Latin American fans in many of our markets to see the Tijuana team play, but there are also many opportunities with Mexican businesses that will be interested in league-wide sponsorship and advertising to reach potential customers throughout the southwestern U.S. cities where the GBL has teams." Pro baseball hasn’t had a league with teams in three countries since the 1950s, when the International League fielded teams in Canada, United States and Cuba.
The Potros complete the 10-team slate for the 2009 GBL, which in now finalizing a two-division schedule that includes a North Division of the three Canadian teams in Calgary, Edomonton, and Victoria along with the California teams in Chico and Long Beach. The South Division will be comprised of St. George in Utah, Orange County (Fullerton) in southern Calfornia, Tucson and Yuma in Arizona, and the Potros in Tijuana.