A longtime affiliation has been extended, as the Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League) and Tampa Bay Rays are continuing their relationship through 2020. The two-year extension of the partnership comes on the heels of four-year contract signed at the end of the 2014 season, which lasts through the 2018 campaign.
The 2018 season will be the 21st of the affiliation between the Bulls and Rays, marking the third-longest partnership in the International League. Over that span the Bulls have captured 13 International League South Division titles and earned 14 playoff berths, while winning the 2017, 2013, 2009, 2003 and 2002 Governors’ Cup crowns. Additionally, the team has twice won the Triple-A National Championship, earning the title in 2017 and 2009. No IL team has made more playoff appearances or won more Governors’ Cup titles or division titles since the Bulls joined the league.
“We couldn’t be happier to extend our partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays,” Capitol Broadcasting Company Vice President – Baseball Operations Mike Birling said. “Over the last two decades the Rays have provided us with great players, managers and coaches who have led us to unparalleled success on the field, and who also represent us with class in the community. We look forward to continuing this special affiliation.”
Tampa Bay is the only Major League team Durham has been affiliated with since becoming a Triple-A team in 1998, and the Bulls are the lone Triple-A affiliate in Rays’ franchise history. Durham has posted a record of 1,532-1,330 (.535) as a Tampa Bay affiliate, including 16 winning seasons in 20 tries.
“We are excited to extend our agreement with the Durham Bulls once again,” Tampa Bay Rays Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom said. “The Bulls have always been a first-class organization, and our players and staff feel at home in the Triangle area. As our relationship enters its third decade, we are proud to call the Durham Bulls our friends and partners.”