Winnipeg Goldeyes’ league partners with Major League Baseball

The Winnipeg Goldeyes celebrate their 2017 American Association Championship victory. Russ Hobson / Global News

The Winnipeg Goldeyes’ league is getting into bed with Major League Baseball.

The American Association and the Frontier League announced an agreement on Thursday that makes them designated partners with the MLB.

While the deal has been struck, the leagues are still working out all the details. The agreement will see the leagues work together on initiatives to help provide baseball to communities in both Canada and the United States.

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“We welcome the American Association and Frontier Leagues as Partner Leagues, and look forward to working with them toward our shared goal of expanding the geographic reach of baseball,” said MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations Morgan Sword in a media release.

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But the deal goes much farther than that according to Goldeyes president and CEO Sam Katz who called it a historic moment for the industry.

“What it means is that we’ll be working hand-in-hand with Major League Baseball,” Katz said. “I can give you some of the possibilities that could happen. For example, Major League Baseball would be organizing a post-season all-star game, there’ll be a new logo with Major League Baseball. There’ll be scouting etc., a uniform player contract, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

The deal will see the American Association maintain it’s independence as they won’t become an affiliated league.

“They see what we’re doing here, they see the great things we’re doing, and they want us to be apart of their family to help grow baseball,” American Association commissioner Joshua Schaub told Global News. “Matters such as cross marketing, promotion of our games, cross marketing with individual Major League teams. For example, Winnipeg might have cross marketing with Toronto.

“We could be web content, digital technology, uniform player transfers.”

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With the agreement, the American Association will still set their own rules, but the move should only help grow the talent in the league. Major League Baseball will now have access to video and technology to better scout the players. Teams like the Goldeyes will still be able to sell player contracts to big league teams, but more players will get the exposure.

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“They will still have the ability to sell that contract to the New York Yankees,” Schaub said. “But in fact, in this scenario the Baltimore Orioles may step in and claim the rights to that player as well. So there is a lot of minutiae that has to happen. We have a framework of a deal that we’ll be getting into details on in the fourth quarter.”

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