Club officials have confirmed that the Rangers are planning to switch their Triple-A affiliation from Oklahoma City to Round Rock for the 2011 season. The Rangers announced on Monday they are extending their working agreements with Double-A Frisco and Class A Spokane and Hickory. But Oklahoma City was left out of the announcement. At this time, clubs can only work on renewing their agreements with their present affiliates. They can not begin talks with other affiliates until later in September.
But club president Nolan Ryan also owns the Round Rock team and it has long been a foregone conclusion that the Rangers would switch in 2011. The switch would help the Rangers gain inroads into the Central Texas market although they have enjoyed a strong following in Oklahoma City over the years. The Rangers have been at Oklahoma City since 1983. The Astros, currently in Round Rock, will likely switch to Oklahoma City, which actually was their first Triple-A affiliate during 1962-72, when they were the 89ers. The Rangers would also like to find a new high Class A affiliate. Currently they are at Bakersfield in the California League but play in one of the oldest ballparks in the Minor Leagues and the situation there has been far from satisfactory. There is a possibility they could switch to Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League. Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg is one of the owners there but Myrtle Beach also has a strong relationship with the Atlanta Braves. That is still up in the air. The new agreement with Frisco is a four-year deal. Spokane and Hickory are two-year deals. Frisco is owned by Mandalay Sports Entertainment, a group currently trying to buy the Oklahoma City franchise.