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Tampa Bay Rays End Affiliation With Charlotte Stone Crabs

December 10, 2020 - Florida State League (FSL) - Charlotte Stone Crabs News Release

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - The Charlotte Stone Crabs today announced that the Tampa Bay Rays have notified the team they have chosen to discontinue their affiliation in the Florida State League. Their decision effectively ends the Stone Crabs' 11-year run in Port Charlotte.

Major League Baseball will take over the operations of Minor League Baseball, effective with the 2021 season, and simultaneously has overhauled the player development system. The two lower levels of MiLB have been eliminated, leaving over 40 communities around the country, including Charlotte County, without an affiliated team.

"The Rays' announcement is sad news for the Stone Crabs organization, our staff, this community and most importantly, our fans," said Stone Crabs General Manager Jeffrey Cook. "With the cancelation of the 2020 Minor League Season, we were looking forward to the future and being able to provide our great community with the affordable, fun entertainment they have grown accustomed to."

In 2009, the Rays relocated their High A affiliate to Charlotte Sports Park. The community embraced the team after having been without affiliated MiLB since the Texas Rangers' affiliate left in 2002. After 11 years, the Rays elected to terminate the minor league relationship with the team and the community.

The Stone Crabs leave memories in the community that will last forever. The team has been a member of five local area Chambers of Commerce in Charlotte and Sarasota Counties. The Stone Crabs have also been active in numerous community programs, such as Habitat for Humanity, and team employees have served on local non-profit boards, including the Boys and Girls Club and various Chambers. Additionally, since 2009 the Stone Crabs partnered with dozens of local non-profit organizations to help raise tens-of-thousands-of-dollars for community causes.

Jared Forma, the Stone Crabs' longest serving General Manager (2013-2019) and current Wichita Wind Surge SVP & GM, said, "We are saddened and disappointed to learn the Rays have elected to eliminate the Stone Crabs as an affiliate. It's a tremendous loss for Charlotte County and the surrounding communities, along with our dedicated fans and partners, to whom we will be forever indebted. On behalf of our ownership group, we extend a heartfelt 'Thank You' to every member of the Stone Crabs Family."

Information concerning ticket refunds will be released soon.

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