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Lugnuts invited to advance a grade, move to A+ with the A’s

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Posted at 2:42 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-13 09:39:58-05

LANSING, Mich. — Originally posted Jesse Goldberg-Strassler here

As part of the reorganization of Minor League Baseball entering the 2021 season, the Lansing Lugnuts today announced that they have received an invitation to partner as the new High-A Midwest League affiliate of the 2020 American League West champion Oakland Athletics.

“This would be an exciting move for us, to embark on our 25th season by moving up to High-A,” said Lugnuts owner Tom Dickson. “Our players work hard every year for a promotion. This year our whole organization may very well be getting a promotion in addition to joining one of Major League Baseball’s storied franchises in the Athletics, with nine World Series titles and a host of greats enshrined in Cooperstown. We look forward to reviewing the terms of the invitation to ensure that we are doing what is best for Lansing and Lugnuts fans.”

Dickson added, “We are grateful to the Toronto Blue Jays for their partnership since 2005. Through our 15 seasons with the Blue Jays, the Lugnuts competed at a high level with talented, high-character players, thrilling our fans on their way to building the foundation for the Blue Jays’ future. We are proud to have hosted Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and Cavan Biggio, among so many others, on their way to Major League stardom.”

“We're truly excited to partner with Tom Dickson and the Lansing Lugnuts as the new High-A affiliate of the Oakland A's,” said Oakland Athletics general manager David Forst. “The Lugnuts maintain a first-class environment for Minor League Baseball at Jackson Field, with a city and fanbase that will support A's future Major Leaguers for years to come. I look forward to officially welcoming Lansing to the A's family when baseball returns in the spring of 2021.”

“The Lansing Lugnuts are an incredible organization and an anchor in Lansing and throughout mid-Michigan. We are excited for this potential next stage, and to be an affiliate with a wonderful team and City of Oakland, California,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. “We look forward to the next phase and future of Minor League Baseball here in Lansing.”

The Lansing Lugnuts’ proposed class promotion from Low-A to High-A and affiliation change comes at the conclusion to a difficult year for Minor League Baseball, with the season canceled and the number of affiliated teams winnowed down to 120.

“When it was first reported that 42 Minor League teams would be eliminated, we were inundated by concerns from our fans and sponsors,” said Dickson. “These were tumultuous months leading up to today. We can now strongly assure everyone who loves and cares about the Lugnuts that today’s news shows how we are regarded within professional baseball. Our future is stable and secure.”

Oakland would be the fourth Major League team to affiliate with the Lugnuts, following the Kansas City Royals (1996-1998), Chicago Cubs (1999-2004), and Blue Jays (2005-2019). Those 24 seasons have thus far produced 154 Major Leaguers, two Midwest League championships and nearly 1700 victories.

Oakland’s other 2019 full-season affiliates were the Las Vegas Aviators (Triple-A - Pacific Coast League), Midland RockHounds (Double-A - Texas League) and Stockton Ports (Low-A - California League). A move to High-A would place the Lugnuts between Midland and Stockton on the Athletics’ organizational ladder.

Arriving in Michigan’s state capital in 1996, the Lansing Lugnuts were the first ever Class A team to draw more than 500,000 fans in its inaugural season as well as the first Minor League Baseball team to draw over 500,00 fans in each of its first two seasons. In 24 seasons overall in the Midwest League, the Lugnuts have welcomed almost 9,000,000 fans, hosted four All-Star Games and annually draw the Midwest League’s largest crowd of the season on the 4th of July.

When the 2020 Minor League Baseball season was canceled, the Lugnuts created the Lemonade League, a college wood-bat league that sold out all 20 of its games from July through August.

For more information on the Lansing Lugnuts, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.

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