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Oklahoma City RedHawks now Triple-A affiliate of Houston Astros

By Ryan Aber, Staff Writer, raber@opubco.com Modified: September 20, 2010 at 8:40 pm •  Published: September 20, 2010
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The RedHawks and the Houston Astros announced a two-year player development contract Monday.

The deal completed what amounted to an affiliate swap after longtime RedHawks parent club, the Texas Rangers, moved their Triple-A farm to Round Rock near Austin.

“We are excited to have our Triple-A affiliation coming to Oklahoma City,” Astros owner Drayton McLane said in a statement. “There's a rich tradition of baseball in Oklahoma City, with strong ties to the Astros, so we expect great things in Oklahoma City.”

The move keeps the RedHawks tied with a team with strong local exposure. Many of the Astros games are televised locally on Fox Sports. The Astros and Oklahoma City were baseball partners over the 1962-1972 seasons when the 89ers played at All Sports Stadium.

After the Milwaukee Brewers announced their intention to stick with Nashville as a Triple-A affiliate, Oklahoma City and Las Vegas were left as the two teams vying for Houston or Toronto.

Several other Triple-A teams haven't officially extended their PDCs but are expected to remain with the same franchise.

“As we explored and really dig deep with both organizations, it became clear Houston was the right fit,” Mandalay Baseball and RedHawks executive Michael Byrnes said. “They had a real strong commitment to wanting to be a partner with us in the community.”

Mandalay's purchase of the RedHawks became official last week.

Representatives from the Astros and Mandalay will hold a reception at the Skirvin Hotel on Wednesday.

Houston's winter caravan will make a stop in Oklahoma City this offseason.

Byrnes said although there was no formal discussion about a possible Astros exhibition game in Oklahoma City during the agreement, that or a similar event remained a possibility.

“Once their season is over, we'll talk about it more,” Byrnes said. “But we did give them some examples of highly successful events we've had in other markets.”

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