Instead, the Keys will be joining the new summer-collegiate MLB Draft League.
The Norfolk Tides (Class AAA; International League), Bowie Baysox (Class AA; Eastern League) and Delmarva Shorebirds (Low A; Sally League) will return as Orioles affiliates under MLB’s new licensing system for MiLB teams.
“Over the past three decades, the Orioles have designed and established a network of economic development partnerships in Maryland, Virginia, and Florida which have generated billions of dollars in impact returned to the public, far exceeding the initial investments made. Our partners and our entire organization are extremely proud of that track record of development, entertainment, and over-delivery, and we are pleased to have successfully secured and extended the economic benefit of the Camden Yards blueprint for multiple communities into the future,” said John Angelos, Orioles Chairman and CEO. “Throughout this process, we have remained committed to retaining our decades-long presence in our state and region as we work closely with Major League Baseball to evolve and extend our system of local baseball for the benefit of players and communities around the country. This steadfast commitment to our home state, the Mid-Atlantic region, and all communities where we do business will create jobs and drive commercial activity while ensuring that residents will continue to enjoy the most affordable, family-focused experience in professional sports.”
The IronBirds were introduced as an Orioles affiliate nearly two decades ago. The IronBirds will continue to play their home games at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Md., presumably in the new High-A Mid-Atlantic League.
“We are ecstatic to have Frederick continue to be a gateway to the Majors in the all-new MLB Draft League and cannot wait for another season of Keys baseball,” said Keys President and Owner Ken Young. “Frederick is such a wonderful community with tremendous fans and support. Over the years the Keys have been one of the best drawing franchises in the Carolina League and we very much appreciate that commitment from the greater Frederick area.”
The Frederick Keys will be joined in the MLB Draft League by the Trenton Thunder (formerly of the Double-A Eastern League), Mahoning Valley Scrappers, State College Spikes, West Virginia Black Bears and Williamsport Crosscutters (all formerly of the New York-Penn League).
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