The team announced the move Thursday morning after facing travel challenges as the northernmost franchise in the Southern League.
A current Cincinnati Reds Double-A affiliate, the Mudcats schedule frequently has away games that are more than 500-miles away. By joining the Carolina League, the team says no away games will be more than 500-miles away. Most teams in the Carolina League are a four-hour drive or less from Wake County.
Mudcats owner Steve Bryant said, “With this new setup, the Mudcats franchise is rejoining its roots in North Carolina professional baseball, as one time all teams in the state were Class A. The level of play is excellent, as typically it’s at least the third professional year for the athletes. Our dedicated and much-appreciated fans and corporate sponsors will have the same great Mudcats experience as before this transition, as our stadium, with its fun special events and top amenities, and our front office all will remain the same. The Carolina League teams are close enough for our fans to be able to reach away games more easily. And given the tremendous number of top players that have come through the Indians farm system, we anticipate some great baseball to occur once our deal with Cleveland becomes a reality in the spring of 2012. The result will be that everyone will remain proud calling the Mudcats Wake County’s hometown pro baseball team.”
The Reds franchise will move to Pensacola, Florida. The Indians franchise is relocating to Zebulon from its current home in Kinston.
The sale certifying the changes is expected to be finalized before January 2, 2011.