The Texas Collegiate League today officially announced the addition of an expansion franchise in Victoria, Texas, for the 2009 season.
The new team will be owned and operated by local businessman Tracy Young, who expressed his excitement at a press conference today.
The event was also attended by TCL president Uri Geva, who shared in the enthusiasm for the league’s newest franchise.
“We are so happy to welcome Victoria to the TCL,” said Geva. “This is a great market with a wonderful, historic facility, and with Tracy leading the charge, we’re sure that Victoria will be a strong franchise for years to come.”
Geva emphasized that this is just one step in a continued plan of deliberate growth for the TCL. “Expansion is one of our top priorities as a league, and we are evaluating a number of future options for the league’s growth. Adding a strong market like Victoria provides a great boost to the league and opens the door for potential future expansion, especially to the south.”
The new Victoria franchise will play its home games at Riverside Stadium. The historic facility has been updated and upgraded in recent years, including new seating in the grandstand behind home plate. The team will play 24 home games as part of a 48-game regular season schedule beginning in June and running through early August. Following the season, the league’s top four teams participate in a playoff to determine the TCL champion.
The new team in Victoria joins the Brazos Valley (Bryan) Bombers, Coppell Copperheads, East Texas (Kilgore) Pump Jacks, and the defending champion McKinney Marshalls in one of the top summer collegiate leagues in the country. This marks the third consecutive season in which the league has added an expansion team; the Bombers joined the TCL in 2007, and the Pump Jacks were added to the circuit last summer.
The first order of business for the new franchise will be to select a nickname. The most popular nickname from past minor league teams in Victoria was Rosebuds, which dates back to 1910 and was shared by no fewer than four franchises. In fact, the last minor league team to call Victoria home, as a member of the Lone Star League in 1977, was known as the Rosebuds. Other nicknames used by Victoria minor league teams include the Cowboys, Toros, Giants, and Eagles.
The franchise is encouraging fans to participate in the naming process by entering the organization’s “Name The Team” contest. Suggestions can be rooted in the city’s baseball history (like Rosebuds), associated with the area’s history or culture, or simply something new and creative. Fans can immediately visit the team’s web site at www.baseballinvictoria.com to submit entries in the “Name The Team” contest.
In joining the TCL, the organization will be writing a new chapter in the city’s baseball history. Victoria has been home to minor league affiliates of the both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers as well as the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers, and Baltimore Orioles. The last baseball franchise to call Victoria home was a member of the Lone Star League in 1977. Alumni of Victoria’s minor league teams include 1960 National League Rookie of the Year Frank Howard and Tommy Davis, who won a World Series and became an all-star with the L.A. Dodgers.
The TCL is entering its sixth season in 2009, but it has already established itself as one of the top summer collegiate leagues in the country. The circuit has produced more than 200 players drafted by Major League organizations, including 56 players last year alone. Notable TCL alumni include Hunter Pence, a contender for the 2007 National League Rookie of the Year award with the Houston Astros; Clay Buchholz, who tossed a no-hitter in his second Major League start with the Boston Red Sox; and Chris Davis, a budding young star with the Texas Rangers.
With Victoria in the fold, the TCL will turn its attention to developing a schedule. A schedule for the 48-game season will be developed in the coming weeks, with an announcement tentatively scheduled for the middle of December.
Expansion will continue to be a priority for the TCL in coming years. Prospective franchise owners and government officials are encouraged to contact the league office at [email protected] for more information.
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