VISALIA, Calif. -- The Visalia Rawhide announced that they have extended their Player Development Contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks in a press conference earlier today.
The new contract, which runs through 2012, ensures that the Rawhide will remain the proud affiliate of the D-backs for a fifth and sixth year.
"We're thrilled with our affiliation with the Visalia Rawhide and the City of Visalia," D-backs Director of Player Development Mike Berger said. "We have been witness to continual improvements to the facility and the operations in each of our four years here. We are excited to extend our relationship at this early date with both the ballclub and the wonderful community of Visalia."
"We're fortunate to have terrific working relationships with our partners-the City of Visalia and the Arizona Diamondbacks," said Rawhide President Tom Seidler. "We're proud to now have a proper home for affordable family entertainment in the greater Visalia community, and a proper home for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Major League stars of the future."
The announcement of a new PDC on April 23 is the earliest that the Visalia franchise has secured an extension in over 20 years. From 1992-2006, a revolving door of Major League clubs declined to renew their PDCs with Visalia due to poor facilities.
Visalia Mayor Bob Link stated his satisfaction at the new contract.
"We're proud of the rich heritage of professional baseball in Visalia, and over 65 years, baseball here has had its ups and downs. But baseball had never been healthier or a bigger part of the community than it is today," Link said. "The commitment by the City is strong, the commitment by Tom Seidler and the local ownership is strong, and today the Arizona Diamondbacks showed their continued commitment. Baseball has a fantastic future in Visalia!"
Since becoming a D-backs affiliate in 2007, Visalia has seen multiple future Major Leaguers grace Recreation Ballpark, including Justin Upton, Brett Anderson, Gerardo Parra, Rusty Ryal, and Max Scherzer. Randy Johnson, Tom Gordon, Eric Byrnes, Chris Snyder, and Conor Jackson have also made rehab appearances in a Visalia uniform.
"The renaissance of professional baseball in Visalia over the last few years is a testament to the dedication of the City of Visalia, active local ownership, and the Arizona Diamondbacks," said California League President Charlie Blaney. "It's terrific to see professional baseball alive and well in Visalia, home of one of the longest-running franchises in the California League."
With record-breaking attendance, an award-winning renovated stadium, and a secure working agreement with its parent ballclub, professional baseball in Visalia has never had a more stable present or a brighter future.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.