ORLANDO, Fla. -- With the new Uptown Charlotte baseball home of the Knights -- BB&T Ballpark -- nearing completion, the team took another significant step in solidifying its future with a six-year extension of the affiliation agreement with the Chicago White Sox. Officials from both teams, including the Knights Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski and White Sox Vice President/Assistant General Manager Buddy Bell, made the announcement today at Baseball's Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida.
The agreement extension represents the longest permitted under baseball rules and will keep the White Sox and Knights partnership intact through the 2020 season. The Knights and White Sox previous PDC extension would have ended after the 2014 season.
Traditionally, the White Sox and Knights have worked on either two-year or four-year agreements, but the construction of BB&T Ballpark and the longstanding relationship between Knights principal owner Don Beaver and Chicago's Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf paved the way for a longer commitment.
Since 1999, Chicago has supplied the on-field talent to Charlotte, making it the fourth longest current affiliation agreement in the Triple-A International League behind the Pawtucket Red Sox (1973 first year with Boston), the Toledo Mud Hens (1987 first year with Detroit), and the Durham Bulls (1998 first year with Tampa Bay).
"We are very pleased to continue our relationship with the Chicago White Sox," said Dan Rajkowski, Knights Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. "The White Sox have been a great parent club to us over the years and we look forward to strengthening and continuing our relationship for another six years. The White Sox have provided us with a number of talented players over the course of our affiliation and we are always pleased to see our Knights players go on to Chicago and continue their success."
Over the course of the 15-year affiliation -- the Knights have enjoyed success as the top affiliate of the White Sox -- winning the 1999 Governors' Cup Championship, and reaching the playoffs during the 2006 and 2012 seasons.
"We're very excited to extend our partnership with the Charlotte Knights," said Buddy Bell, White Sox Vice President/Assistant General Manager. "Over the past 15 seasons, the White Sox have enjoyed a tremendous working relationship with the city of Charlotte and the Knights organization, in particular with Don Beaver and Dan Rajkowski. With the opening of BB&T Ballpark in 2014, which we feel will be one of the premier facilities in all of minor league baseball, the timing couldn't be better to extend our partnership into the foreseeable future."
In 2013, 21 Knights earned a promotion from Charlotte to Chicago. Those players were: Deunte Heath, Tyler Greene, Jordan Danks, Blake Tekotte, Brian Omogrosso, Donnie Veal, Ramon Troncoso, Brent Morel, Simon Castro, David Purcey, Josh Phegley, Andre Rienzo, Avisail Garcia, Charlie Leesman, Jake Petricka, Leury Garcia, Bryan Anderson, Miguel Gonzalez, Marcus Semien, Erik Johnson, and Daniel Webb. The Knights had 17 players in 2012 earn a promotion to Chicago.
Currently, there are 24 players on the White Sox 40-man roster that have spent time with the Knights over the past few seasons. Key players such as Chris Sale, Addison Reed, Alejandro De Aza, and Dayan Viciedo, all made stops with the Knights on their quest to Chicago.
The Knights will open BB&T Ballpark on Friday night, April 11 at 7:05 p.m. against the Norfolk Tides. Season tickets for the 2014 inaugural season at BB&T Ballpark are on sale now and can be purchased by phone at (980) 207-0079, by email at email@example.com, or in person by stopping by the Knights Uptown Offices located at Packard Place, 222 South Church Street, 3rd floor, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. For more information about Charlotte Knights Baseball, visit www.charlotteknights.com.