Astros put Triple-A club in Oklahoma City

The Astros and the Oklahoma City RedHawks on Monday announced that the Astros will be returning as the Triple-A affiliate of the RedHawks after entering into a two-year player development contract. The Astros were the original Major League Baseball affiliate of the Oklahoma City Triple-A franchise from 1962 through 1972.

The Astros were forced to look for a new Triple-A affiliate after the Texas Rangers and Nolan Ryan scooped up Round Rock last week.

“We are very excited to have our Triple-A affiliation coming home to Oklahoma City,” Astros owner Drayton McLane said.”There’s a rich tradition of baseball in Oklahoma City, with strong ties to the Astros, so we expect great things in Oklahoma City.”

Tal Smith, Astros president of baseball operations said: “Oklahoma City is a perfect fit for our Triple-A affiliate and we are looking forward to working alongside our new partners at Mandalay Baseball, one of the premier owner/operators in Minor League Baseball, to bring a new level of energy and excitement to the RedHawks franchise.”

The RedHawks play in downtown Oklahoma City in Bricktown Ballpark, which opened in 1998 and is considered one of the best Minor League venues. The park seats 13,066 and is a short flight from Houston, making easy for players to shuffle between the Major League club and Triple-A.

“It’s a beautiful facility,” Astros general manager Ed Wade said. “We’re sure it’s going to be run well. Mandalay Baseball just bought the franchise and Mandalay has a great reputation in the industry. Their profile is very high and very positive. We think it would be, from a standpoint of facilities and Mandalay managing it, a great circumstance to find ourselves in.”

The RedHawks averaged 5,478 fans in 67 dates in 2010, which ranked 11th in the 16-team Pacific Coast League. Round Rock was second in the league with an average of 8,408 fans.

Mandalay Baseball Properties purchased the RedHawks earlier this month.

“We are thrilled to have the Astros returning to Oklahoma City as the RedHawks’ affiliate,” said Art Matin, Mandalay’s CEO and president said. “The combination of the close proximity to Houston, fan base and history of the Astros in Oklahoma City, TV coverage, other opportunities to draw a connection between the Astros and the RedHawks, and the success the Astros have enjoyed under Drayton McLane’s ownership, make the Astros the logical Major League Baseball affiliate for the RedHawks. We anticipate a long and mutually rewarding relationship between the RedHawks and the Astros.”

Members of the leadership team of the Astros will be joining representatives of MBP at the RedHawks Reception in the Venetian Ballroom at The Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 22.

Mandalay Baseball also owns or operates the following Minor League clubs:

  • Dayton Dragons (Class A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds)
  • Erie SeaWolves (Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers)
  • Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers)
  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees)
  • Staten Island Yankees (Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees)

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