AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds, will host the 2016 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game between Pacific Coast League and International League champs on Tuesday, September 20.
Redbirds General Manager Craig Unger, Pacific Coast League President Branch Rickey, International League President Randy Mobley, former Redbird and fan favorite Stubby Clapp, as well as other executives from the Memphis area were on hand for Tuesday’s announcement in downtown Memphis.
The game will also be televised live to a national audience on NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. CT, pitting the Pacific Coast League Champions against the winner of the International League’s Governors’ Cup in a one-game, winner-take-all championship.
“We are proud to have been selected to host the 2016 Triple-A National Championship Game and can’t wait to showcase the city of Memphis and award-winning renovations to AutoZone Park,” said Redbirds General Manager Craig Unger. “We are committed to bringing premier events to AutoZone Park and hope this will be the first of many in downtown Memphis in the years to come.”
“Throughout Minor League Baseball, Triple-A is recognized as the jumping off point for the next wave of Major League stars,” said Pacific Coast League President Branch Rickey. “The city of Memphis and AutoZone Park will serve as a perfect backdrop for our national television coverage as the PCL and IL winners come face-to-face to decide the ownership of the 2016 season’s bragging rights.”
“What a thrill it will be to return to Memphis with this pinnacle event to the Minor League baseball season,” said International League President Randy Mobley. “The city of Memphis and the Redbirds were gracious hosts in 2003 when we visited for the Triple-A All-Star Game, and we look forward to experiencing AutoZone Park’s fan-friendly renovations.”
The game will be in its 11th year when the Redbirds host in 2016. The Pacific Coast League leads the all-time series, 7-3.
“Gildan, a leading brand and supplier of quality T-shirts, activewear, underwear and socks, is honored to be part of this great American tradition as a proud sponsor of Triple-A Baseball and its 30 teams. Entering our fifth year as title sponsor of the Gildan Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game, we are thrilled for the upcoming season and that its culmination will take place in Memphis’ newly renovated AutoZone Park,” said Rob Packard, Vice-President Marketing and Merchandising, Gildan Retail. “Gildan is looking forward to enhancing this fun, family experience throughout the season culminating in the Gildan Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game.”
The Triple-A National Championship Game debuted in its current one-game format in 2006. The Triple-A World Series (1983), Triple-A Classic (1988-91), and Las Vegas Triple-A World Series (1998-2000) all served as predecessors to the current championship event.
Previously known as the Bricktown Showdown from 2006-10, the game was held annually at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Since 2011, the Triple-A inter-league championship has rotated among Triple-A cites each year.
Similar to Major League Baseball, the league winner of the 2016 Triple-A All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina will be assigned the home team for the National Championship Game in Memphis.
The Gildan Triple-A National Championship also serves as a gathering for the leaders from all 30 Triple-A teams that attend for the joint Pacific Coast-International League meetings.
Individual game tickets will be made available to the general public at a later date.
The Redbirds have won Pacific Coast League Championships in 2000 and 2009, but have never been crowned Triple-A Champions. In 2000, Memphis lost 3-1 to the Indianapolis Indians in a best-of-five series in the Las Vegas Triple-A World Series.