In a move that has been talked about under-the-radar for a while now, the Minnesota Twins will be playing with a new Double-A affiliate next year — either Pensacola or Amarillo.
The primary reason is that the Cincinnati Reds — most recently affiliated with Pensacola — have returned to Chattanooga, as reported by David Paschall of the Chattanoga Times Free Press and confirmed by C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic.
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) September 25, 2018
The Lookouts were the Reds’ Double-A affiliate from 1988-2008 before servicing the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2009-14 and then the Twins from 2015 until this past year.
Pensacola — known as the Blue Wahoos — plays at Admiral Fetterman Field at Community Maritime Park, a stadium with the lowest capacity (5,038) among the 10 teams in the Southern League. The Blue Wahoos play in the South Division — Chattanooga plays in the North — and are coming off winning the league title in 2017 (co-champions with the Lookouts, as luck would have it).
Admiral Fetterman Field was opened on April 5, 2012, and cost $54 million to construct. Here’s a cool look at it:
Amarillo, on the other hand, is a team that will start play in the Texas League in 2019, and play in the brand new Amarillo Ballpark, which is downtown Amarillo and cost $45.5 million to build.
Here’s a look at the rendering of the new park:
Amarillo becoming an affiliate has to do with shifting done in Helena and Colorado Springs, with the latter moving to San Antonio.
The Amarillo club has not been named yet, though the finalists for the moniker are surely….interesting:
- Boot Scooters
- Bronc Busters
- Long Haulers
- Sod Poodles
Either situation seems to be pretty solid for the Twins to move into, with Pensacola closer to Fort Myers — more or less the minor-league hub for the Twins — and both cities having very new facilities. That was the primary issue in Chattanooga, at AT&T Field is already going on 19 years old.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but expect resolution on this very, very quickly.