Today MiLB announced that at the conclusion of the 2016 minor league season the High Desert Mavericks and Bakersfield Blaze will cease operations.
“MiLB announces realignment with two Class A Adv teams moving from Cal Lg to Carolina Lg: http://atmilb.com/2bPcCZe “
This move comes as MiLB and its’s MLB affiliates look to realign franchises. Both teams will move to the Carolina League starting in 2017. High Desert Mavericks have been the High A affiliate of the Texas Rangers and been in a battle with their home city of Adelanto to keep baseball there, but with this move that battle will end and the team will now play their home games in Kinston, NC. Bakersfield Blaze, the High A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners will likely move to Fayetteville, NC, but there are other options that are being looked at. Though High Desert may have known that a change was coming after the 2016 season it appears from Bakersfield’s Twitter feed that this announcement was a major surprise to employees of the team.
“Bakersfield Blaze @BakoBlaze Bakersfield Blaze Retweeted MiLB.com
Our official position is that we are devastated. The sad emoji would also work. So much history … gone.”
Another very interesting point to keep in mind with this move is that it was already rumored that the Lancaster Jethawks, the Houston Astros’ High-A affiliate, was also making plans or at least exploring options to move to the Carolina League. Should the Jethawks also abandon the California League there would be only seven of the current ten teams remaining and only three teams remaining in the South Division. A mass exist of that form could leave the remaining teams wondering what the future may hold for the Cal League which was founded in 1941. One of the founding teams of the league was the Bakersfield Badgers.
On a personal note, because we are based out of Southern California it is sad to see these two teams leave. I have enjoyed many a day and night at the local minor league stadiums watching young up and coming talent play for both of these teams. They surely will be missed.