After months of waiting, working and negotiating, Pensacola officially has a Major League Baseball franchise.
In a letter from the Office of Commissioner Bud Selig, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos were granted official standing by Major League Baseball last week as the Double-A farm club of the Cincinnati Reds franchise. The approval is part of a complicated transaction that involved other Minor League teams, the purchase of the Reds' Carolina Mudcats farm team and the relocation and renaming of that team to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
The approval from Major League Baseball follows the recent go-ahead by the Southern League, the division of Minor League Baseball that gave the Blue Wahoos the preliminary go-ahead to come to town. Blue Wahoos President Bruce Baldwin said that the official approval from Major League Baseball triggers a host of other activities and opportunities for the team.
"Because the Blue Wahoos are a franchise of the Major League Baseball Cincinnati Reds, we have to comply with many of the same branding, marketing and legal standards as Major League teams do. Major League Baseball is rightfully very protective of their product, and so this final approval gives the Blue Wahoos the green light to start doing some of the things that people associate with team sports," said Baldwin. "Over the next few months, we will be rolling out a new website, unveiling our logo, releasing all sorts of great merchandise for the fans, and our season ticket holders will be picking their seats -- all before the end of the year," said Baldwin.
Baldwin was excited about the final approval and looked forward to the next steps in rolling out the new franchise.
"This is great news and we're really excited about bringing the Blue Wahoos to Pensacola. The stadium is coming along, and now that we're officially approved by Major League Baseball, I think the community and fans will start to see some more activity and excitement around the Blue Wahoos organization," said Baldwin. "It's exciting and I'm looking forward to the Blue Wahoo experience being a real draw for Pensacola and our fans, because we believe that a Blue Wahoo game won't just be a baseball game, but an entire family, social and entertainment event."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.