Atlanta will have a new High Class A affiliate for the next four years — the Lynchburg Hillcats, on their third parent in three years — after the Braves were dumped as a parent by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, a move that also leaves Cincinnati in a bad situation.
The Braves were informed by the Pelicans that the Myrtle Beach affiliation was shifting to Texas, a team also owned by Pels owner Chuck Greenberg. It didn’t take long for the Braves to find a new home.
“We want to thank Chuck Greenburg and the fans in Myrtle Beach for 12 years there, but we are excited to enter into a new relationship in Lynchburg,” said Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren. “We have a great respect for Calvin Falwell and Paul Sunwall and the baseball operation in Lynchburg. We think it will be a great new affiliation to add to our system and the close proximity to Danville is ideal for our player development.”
The Braves will be the third parent for the Hillcats in the last three years. In 2009 the Hillcats were a farm team for the Pittsburgh Pirates. When the Pirates bought the Sarasota Reds (High Class A; Florida State League) from the Cincinnati Reds before the 2010 season and moved them to Bradenton, they switched affiliations with the Reds; as a result the Reds were the parent team of the Hillcats for a single season, 2010.
The loss leaves the Reds in the lurch. There are only three High Class A teams left on the block, and they’re all in the Cal League: the Bakersfield Blaze, the Inland Empire 66ers and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. We’re told the Los Angeles Dodgers will be buying into the Quakes and switching affiliations. If so, then it will be down to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Reds to fight over the 66ers and the Blaze. We’d be amazed if the 66ers didn’t end up with the Angels; that would leave the Reds with the Blaze.
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