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Rock Cats, Twins extend partnership
07/08/2010 10:53 AM ET
New Britain, Conn. -- In the midst of the heat wave currently sweeping the East Coast, two longtime partners - Minnesota Twins' Vice President and General Manager, Billy Smith and New Britain Rock Cats President and CEO, Bill Dowling - ducked into an air-conditioned corner of New Britain Stadium today and coolly renewed their baseball vows. The Rock Cats of the Double-A classification Eastern League -- and the Twins of the American League -- mutually agreed to extend their already 16-year long professional relationship for another two seasons. The new Agreement will be in effect from October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2012.

Dowling invited a number of Rock Cats season-ticket holders to join Smith, himself, and a contingent of Rock Cats personnel to witness the Agreement's signing at New Britain Stadium. In brief remarks, he said: "Our franchise has enjoyed an absolutely wonderful working relationship with the Minnesota Twins for the past 16 years. In addition to being one of the most admired baseball operations in the entire game, they are also great people. General Manager Billy Smith and his Director of Minor League Operations, Jim Rantz, have been very loyal and trustworthy partners. They have provided us with a steady stream of talented young players who arrive in Connecticut prepared to hone their baseball skills on our field - and interact appropriately with our fans in the stands and in the community. We attribute this to Minnesota's emphasis on both talent and character, and we look forward to continuing this productive partnership through the 2012 Season".

Smith, in Connecticut this week to observe several young prospects currently assigned to the Rock Cats, expressed his delight in renewing Minnesota's Agreement with New Britain. "Our affiliation with New Britain has worked well for both parties on many levels. While we have great affinity for Bill and his staff here in the New Britain, the proof of our partnership's value is in the number of players currently on the Minnesota roster who came through here. Nearly 75% of our club - from Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Michael Cuddyer to Blackburn, Baker, Slowey and Liriano - have all come through New Britain. That's a strong track record and we are happy to be extending with the Rock Cats for two more years".