Over the last few weeks we’ve been getting bits and pieces of information about new affiliations for some Major League Baseball teams. The first part of confirmed information that we got was from the New York Yankees, who announced their affiliates in a press release. As a part of that release we began to see some of the league restructuring, too. The Florida State League’s Tampa Tarpons, a Yankees affiliate, was now going to be their Low-A affiliated team. The Florida State League had long been rumored to be heading to Low-A, so that part wasn’t much of a surprise.
We would get a few more affiliation confirmations in the next few days, but Major League Baseball sent out a memo telling organizations to stop announcing/leaking their affiliates. That memo, of course, was leaked. When it comes to the Cincinnati Reds there hasn’t been much news. For Cincinnati, and for several of the teams that had been affiliated with them in the 2019 season, it’s a little more important than for many other organizations. The Chattanooga Lookouts, who were the Double-A affiliate, and the Daytona Tortugas, who played in the Florida State League, were both initially listed on the “cut list” that was leaked last October. That’s left the organizations scrambling to try and find a way to remain in affiliated ball, as well as find ways to make the improvements asked of them to improve the facilities up to the new require standards. Daytona was backed by the city council for $4,000,000 in improvements in January.
Ballpark Digest, which has been doing plenty of work reporting on all of the affiliation movement, has been keeping a running list of what is expected to happen. The most recent updates may contain some good news for both the Chattanooga and Daytona franchises.
Starting with Daytona, they are now listed as “team looks to make the cut” and expected to re-sign with the Cincinnati Reds. I have not been able to confirm this news with anyone. But I can say that I’ve been hearing this rumor for about two weeks now from people within baseball. The Florida State League has been rumored to be going from 12 teams to 10 teams. The Florida Fire Frogs and the Daytona Tortugas were the teams on the original cut list from the league. Ballpark Digest lists the Fire Frogs as “gone”, but the other team that’s uncertain in the league is the Charlotte Stone Crabs – formerly an affiliate of the Rays.
With Chattanooga, they were also on the original cut list. Among the Southern League, expected to remain a Double-A league, it was the Lookouts and the Jackson Generals who were on the list from the league. Ballpark Digest now has both as being saved and expected to renew with their original teams. Similar to the news about Daytona – I’ve been unable to confirm anything, but this is another rumor I have been hearing for about the last two weeks.
Nothing is final with regards to things for either Daytona or Chattanooga, either in their remaining in affiliated ball, nor in remaining affiliates of the Cincinnati Reds. But Ballpark Digest seems to be hearing the same things I have been hearing about both franchises. If nothing else, there are signs of hope for people that work for both organizations. And it also means that I may not have seen my last days at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona or AT&T Field in Chattanooga.