September 22, 2004 - Midwest League (MWL) - Southwest Michigan Devil Rays
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. The Battle Creek Yankees have signed a two-year Player Development Contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Battle Creek will be the low-A affiliate for the Devil Rays, who will be represented in the Midwest League for the first time ever.
Were very excited about our affiliation with the Devil Rays, team president Sam Bernabe said. Theyre great people to work with, and there is a lot of great baseball ahead for fans at C.O. Brown Stadium.
Were looking forward to a successful relationship with Battle Creek, said Cam Bonifay, Director of Player Personnel for the Devil Rays. We will be sending our best young players to Battle Creek and the Midwest League.
The Devil Rays are the franchises fifth major-league affiliate if you count the brief affiliation with the St. Louis Cardinals in the fall of 1994 before the affiliation was switched to the Boston Red Sox prior to the inaugural season of 1995. The Michigan Battle Cats were affiliated with the Boston Red Sox (1995-1998) and Houston Astros (1999-2002) before the team was renamed the Battle Creek Yankees and affiliated with the New York Yankees (2003-2004).
Battle Creek is currently the most successful franchise in Minor League Baseball with eight straight winning seasons.
One of the first things fans will notice with the new affiliation is a new name. The Battle Creek Yankees will soon join the Battle Creek Golden Kazoos and the Michigan Battle Cats in the history books. A new team name is expected to be announced later this fall.
The Devil Rays low-A affiliate had always been the Charleston River Dogs of the South Atlantic League. The River Dogs finished 76-63 this season and qualified for the league playoffs. The Devil Rays short-season team the Hudson Valley Renegades finished 39-33 in the New York-Penn League this season.