According to the Sacramento Bee, it's official: The Giants' Triple-A team is moving to Sacramento.
The Sacramento River Cats have reached an affiliation agreement with the San Francisco Giants, ending their association with the Oakland A’s.
Sacramento A's fans are livid, and I don't blame them. Sacramento Giants fans are giddy, though. I know which audience I want to pander to.
The move helps the Giants in all sorts of ways -- proximity, frequency of flights, size of potential market -- and hurts in just one: the silly name. Let's brainstorm. The Sacramento Seals. The Sacramento River Seals. Really, I have all sorts of ideas.
In other news, the Fresno Grizzlies are now the Astros' affiliate again, which they were from 1980 through 1997 (though they were named the Toros back then.) No word on if the Grizzlies are going to change back to the Toros, but if they do, a suggestion: The River Toros. Think it over.
The Fresno Grizzlies have been the Giants' Triple-A affiliate since the Diamondbacks existed. Can you think of a time before the Diamondbacks? I technically can, but it's all a fuzzy, glorious swamp of memories for me once you go past 2007. It seems like the Diamondbacks have been a dumb team since the beginning of time. So it follows that the Grizzlies have been the Giants' affiliate since the beginning of time. This will be odd.
Considering that I'm about 1000-percent more likely to attend a Giants Triple-A game every season for the next decade, I'm thrilled. The Giants' Triple-A team is 90 minutes away now. That seems like a good thing.
Update: It's official. Here's the press release:
San Francisco, Calif. - The San Francisco Giants today entered into a two-year Player Development Contract with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats.
The Giants will move its Triple-A affiliate from the Fresno Grizzlies to Sacramento beginning in the 2015 season.
"First and foremost, the Giants want to express our sincere appreciation to the Fresno community, in particular to Mayor Ashley Swearengin, the Grizzlies ownership and the fans, for their longtime support of our club," said Giants President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Baer. "It was a difficult decision to move our affiliate, but ultimately we felt that the proximity of the River Cats to San Francisco was critical to the development of our players. We look forward to working with the River Cats organization to continue to deliver a top baseball experience to our players and the fans."
"We appreciate the 15 successful years we've had with the Oakland Athletics," said River Cats President Jeff Savage, "and we're grateful for the tremendous support that the region has shown us. Our mission here at Raley Field has always been, and always will be, giving the Sacramento community the best fan experience possible. We're extremely excited to join the Giants family, and can't wait for our 2015 home opener on April 9."
"Sacramento is a great baseball town and the area has traditionally produced top baseball talent for the Major Leagues. Our affiliation with the River Cats provides us with an outstanding player development environment, and we are excited about the opportunity to work with our young players at Raley Field," said Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Sabean.
During their first 15 years in Sacramento, the River Cats were affiliated with the Oakland Athletics, during which time they won 11 division titles, four Pacific Coast League titles, and two Triple-A championships. Though the River Cats have missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history, the club led the Pacific Coast League in attendance in 2014, and have welcomed more fans through their gates than any other minor league organization since 2000.
The Giants have seven World Series titles, including two in the last four years (2010, 2012). Sacramento joins the Giants' minor league system that includes the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A), San Jose Giants (Single-A Advanced), Augusta GreenJackets (Single-A), and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Short Season).