It's official, the Carolina Mudcats are the new Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds of the National League.
The Southern League member announced Friday afternoon at a press conference. The Mudcats' six-year association with the Florida Marlins ended last week and were being courted by the Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
Carolina, which lost the Southern League championship series in five games to the Mississippi Braves, will put a stamp on their new affiliation with an exhibition game against the Reds on April 3, 2009, in Five County Stadium.
Personally, I'm a little disappointed it wasn't the Giants. As an 11-year resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I developed an affinity for the G-men and their American League neighbors, the Oakland Athletics. It would have been neat seeing the next-generation Giants come through eastern North Carolina on their way to San Francisco.
The Reds are a good choice though. They are the oldest major league team, dating back to 1882. I'm not sure about their current state. The most recent interest I had in them was when Goldsboro native Jerry Narron was the Cincinnati manager but he was fired last year.
Check out Saturday's print and online editions of The Wilson Daily Times for reporter Ryan Bisesi's coverage of Friday's press conference.