Wichita Becomes AA-Team of Minnesota Twins
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier examines that likelihood that St. Paul Saints are becoming the Minnesota Twins AAA team.
Wichita to Become Minnesota Twins AA Team
With a lot of question marks surrounding the 2021 minor league baseball season, the Minnesota Twins are ensuring that their system is remaining busy. Two weeks after it was reported that the St. Paul Saints would become the AAA affiliate of the team, it now appears that the city of Wichita will now be the home of their AA club. This according toa report in the Wichita Eagle.
Musical Teams Begins
Wichita was set to become the AAA affiliate of the Miami Marlins, as the team was going to move from New Orleans to become the Wichita Wind Surge. A new $75 million-plus ballpark was built to lure a AAA affiliate to the largest city in the Sun Flower State, as the city reached its goal when the New Orleans Baby Cakes agreed to leave Louisiana and take up residence in the new ballpark.
This move led to the end of the Wichita Wingnuts franchise, who had become the gold standard in the American Association after reaching the playoffs in eight of their 11 seasons in the league. The Wingnuts franchise was officially suspended while ownership looked for a buyer for the franchise’s membership.
Wichita had been set to welcome their new team for the 2020 season, but the minor league baseball shutdown postponed that move, leaving the stadium dormant in its first year. Now, the stadium has lost their AAA affiliate as Major League clubs have been actively seeking to move their highest level affiliate closer to the MLB organization. That left the new ballpark without a tenant.
However, that has now been resolved. The Twins AA affiliate will move from Pensacola (Southern League) and will set up residence in Wichita, joining the Texas League. This will give the top three levels of the Twins organization teams playing in ballparks that were built within the last decade (Target Field – 2010, CHS Field – 2015, and the new Wichita Park -2020).
No word on what will happen in Pensacola.
A Bitter-Sweet Announcement
For Wichita, this news must be a relief to a city council that was about to have egg on their collective faces. Former Mayor Jeff Longwell had worked hard to lure a top affiliate team to Wichita, and it looked for a brief time that the city may have a brand new park and no tenant.
However, no organization was going to leave a facility like this without a team. The opportunity was simply too great. Unfortunately, fans will not see AAA baseball next year. Although, it would be fair to point out that if they had kept the AAA affiliate of the Miami Marlins fans would not have seen AAA quality talent anyway.
By Robert Pannier