After a few weeks of rumors and speculation, it appears a GBL team in Tijuana is coming close to a reality. I know, I know, it ain't the Surf Dawgs, but it's close (at least geographically). This is now the third new franchise for the Golden League this season, after the additions of Victoria and Tuscon. RIP Reno.
Here's the release from the league site...
GBL Signs Agreement with Tijuana Group For Expansion Team
Potros Leaving the Mexican League Opens Up Market
(Dublin, CA. December 15, 2008) The Golden Baseball League (GBL) announced today that they have entered into a Letter of Intent with a group to bring professional baseball back to Tijuana for the upcoming 2009 season. The 2008 Tijuana Potros team was disbanded by the Mexican League and their franchise relocated to Reynosa, opening up the market for the GBL to place an expansion team.
"We anticipate completing this agreement and adding Tijuana as a GBL city for this coming season," said Kevin Outcalt, Commissioner of the Golden Baseball League. "We have always believed that Tijuana would be a very good market for the league. It has a tremendous base of fans that regularly fill the ballpark, a fine baseball history, and excellent support from the business community and government."
This agreement allows the new ownership group to finalize their business and operations requirements. Pending no other problems, a formal announcement of the ownership group, and team name should occur in the very near future. Tijuana has had a long baseball history playing in the Mexican Winter and Summer leagues and consistently enjoyed some of the best attendance in all of minor league baseball. The Mexican League voted last week at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas to re-locate the Tijuana franchise to the city of Reynosa which is over 1000 miles closer to the rest of the Mexican League teams.
"A Tijuana team brings the GBL many benefits," said GBL CEO and President David Kaval. "Not only will it be exciting for the Latin American fans in many of our markets to see the Tijuana team play, but there are also many opportunities with Mexican businesses that will be interested in league-wide sponsorship and advertising to reach potential customers throughout the southwestern U.S. cities where the GBL has teams. Becoming the first professional baseball league to have operations in three countries should also provide a number of other business opportunities."