A representative with the New York Yankees is confirming that the team is in talks to move their Single-A team Tampa Yankees to Orlando from Tampa.
Orange County had planned an announcement for Thursday, but within minutes of FOX 35's Tom Johnson learning about a possible relocation of the Single-A team to Orlando, the county rescheduled a news conference for Wednesday. A spokesperson with the agency which represent the Yankees said the talks are still in the preliminary stage.
Orlando businessman and former congressional candidate Armando Gutierrez confirmed that he is involved in a "the principal purchase agreement’ with the organization. He added that the deal is "as close as you can get" to being done.
According to Gutierrez, the deal would require a new ball park and that the major hurdle at this point is finding the land to build that park. Orange County will move forward with the planned news conference for Thursday, at which time we expect possible details regarding ownership and investor relationships.
The Yankees, through Howard J. Rubenstein & Associates, issued a statement around noon Wednesday.
’The Yankees are in very preliminary discussions regarding the possibility of a partial sale of their Single-A Tampa minor league affiliate to a potential group of Orange County, Fla., investors.’
The statement also indicated that exploratory conversations would have no impact on the Yankees’ spring training facility in Tampa or the Major League Baseball team.
A relocation of the Tampa Yankees to Orlando would signal minor league baseball's return to the Orlando area after a seven year absence. From 2000 to 2003, the Orlando Rays played in Lake Buena Vista at Walt Disney World's Champion Stadium. The Orlando Rays were the Class AA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Attendance did not meet expectations, so the Rays' owners announced the team would move to Montgomery in 2004, re-branding itself as the Montgomery Biscuits. The move terminated the Rays' 10-year lease with Disney after just four seasons. Before that, the Orlando Rays played at Tinker Field.
The Tampa Yankees home games are currently played at George M. Steinbrenner Field, a miniature replica of the Yankees' home stadium (Yankee Stadium) in the Bronx. The T-Yankees are the current defending champions of the FSL, having defeated the Charlotte Stone Crabs in the championship series three games to two.