For the first time in the history of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, they won't be affiliated with the Atlanta Braves in 2011.
The Texas Rangers appear to be headed to the beach.
The Braves announced Thursday that their 12-season affiliation with the Pelicans has come to an end, and they have signed a four-year Player Development Contract with the Lynchburg (Va.) Hillcats to be their Advanced Class A farm team.
The Rangers and Pelicans have owner Chuck Greenberg in common. Greenberg has been the chairman and principal owner of the Pelicans since 2006, and he headed an investor group that outbid Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban at an Aug. 5 auction to take over ownership of the Rangers.
The Rangers have not re-signed with their 2010 Advanced Class A affiliate in Bakersfield, Calif., and Greenberg is scheduled to attend a 1:30 p.m. news conference today at BB&T Coastal Field for a Pelicans announcement.
The Rangers appear to be aligning their common ownership teams. They announced Thursday their new Triple-A affiliate will be the Round Rock (Texas) Express, which is owned by pitching legend Nolan Ryan, who is both an owner and president of the Rangers.
The Pelicans have been aligned with the Braves since the team's inception in 1999. "It's been a pleasure dealing with the Braves," said first-year Pelicans general manager Scott Brown. "They are a first-class organization from top to bottom, and we have great memories and great players that have come through Myrtle Beach."
Lynchburg competes against the Pelicans in the eight-team Carolina League. The teams will be scheduled to face each other in 10 games at BB&T Field next season. "It's a real plus. Braves fans will still be able to see Braves farmhands in Myrtle Beach," Brown said.
Lynchburg is about 70 miles from the Braves' Rookie League affiliate, the Danville (Va.) Braves.
"We want to thank Chuck Greenberg and the fans in Myrtle Beach for 12 years there, but we are excited to enter into a new relationship in Lynchburg," Braves Executive Vice President and general manager Frank Wren said in a release.
Myrtle Beach went 58-82 this past season and attracted 3,282 spectators per game, while Bakersfield went 67-73 in the California League and had an average attendance of 932 per game.