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Carolina to Pensacola, Kinston to Zebulon in 2012

Carolina MudcatsThe Carolina Mudcats (Class AA; Southern League) have been sold to Quint and Rishy Studer, and the franchise will be shifting to a new Pensacola ballpark for the 2012 season. Meanwhile, the Kinston Indians (High Class A; Carolina League) have been sold to the Mudcats owners and will be playing in Zebulon in 2012.

“I am extremely proud and excited for the actions that are being announced today,” said Quint Studer. “Bringing affiliated baseball to Pensacola will continue to add to the rich sports history that already exists in the area. Seeing the future stars of Major League baseball in a fun, family friendly atmosphere will bring a new level of enthusiasm for the citizens of Pensacola and Northwest Florida.”

The new home of the Reds’ Double-A affiliate will be located at Maritime Park. The team will play the 2011 season in North Carolina before relocating to the new facility starting in April 2012.

“The Southern League is one of the most respected leagues within baseball. With this move we are joining several upstanding franchises, including the Mobile BayBears who graciously allowed us to share their territory to make this all possible for the City of Pensacola. It is an honor to be associated with a league that boasts talented alumni like Chipper Jones, Joey Votto, Alex Rodriguez, Tim Hudson and Miguel Cabrera,” added Studer.

Terms of the deals were not released, though it’s important to note a Double-A team hasn’t been sold for less than $10 million since the St. Louis Cardinals bought the El Paso Diablos (Class AA; Texas League) for $9.8 million; we’d be surprised if the K-Indians sold for much less than $7 million (the Hagerstown Suns, for instance, sold this offseason for $6.8 million).

Studer owned the Pensacola Pelicans (independent; American Association). That franchise has been sold and will be playing in Amarillo for the 2011 season.

As for Kinston: We’d be very surprised if a summer-collegiate Coastal Plain League team wasn’t already in the works for 2012.

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