Could the Washington, D.C. area be getting another Minor League Baseball team?
An investment group in Charles County, Md. reportedly has a deal in place to move the Miami Marlins' short-season Single-A affiliate Batavia (NY) Muckdogs to Waldorf, Md., according to Baseball America.
The relocated team would remain in the New York-Penn League, which is also the home to the Nationals' current short-season Single-A affiliate Auburn Doubledays.
According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, Nationals officials refuse to comment on the situation but remain devoted to the Doubledays.
A member of the Nationals front office said team policy dictates not commenting on deals with affiliates while existing deals are still in effect. “We are committed to Auburn,” was all he would say. The Nationals’ short-season Single-A team is located in Auburn, New York and plays in the New York Penn League with the Muckdogs.
The relocating Muckdogs would play at the Regency Furniture Stadium, home to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic league, according to Baseball America. This move would mean the Blue Crabs would relocate to a yet-to-be-determined market.
The most interesting aspect of the development is not the prospect of the metro area getting another team, but just who is purchasing the Muckdogs.
According to the reports, the ownership group is comprised of local African-American businessmen and the move would be a major step in the right direction for MLB and MiLB in terms of creating a more diverse industry.
As of the start of the 2016 season, there are just two minority managers in Major League Baseball — Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker and Los Angeles Dodgers' first-time manager Dave Roberts.
But the potential deal does face a significant hurdle, namely gaining approval from both the Orioles and Nationals because of the Waldorf's location in the teams' territory.
On top of that, the team must also get the approval from other minor league teams that have a footprint in Southern Maryland.
The relocation process for minor league teams is anything but simple. That being said, with baseball on the rise in the nation's capital, the addition of a local team would be more than welcomed.