Springfield lands Cards' Class AA team

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Associated Press

EL PASO, Texas -- The Diablos minor league baseball franchise in El Paso has been sold to the St. Louis Cardinals, who plan to move it to Springfield, Mo.

The Diablos have been a Class AA farm team playing in the Texas League for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Diablos players will step up to the plate for the last time in El Paso next month when the season ends.

The Diamondbacks own the contracts of current Diablos players and will have to relocate them, said Brent Miles, Diablos general manager.

The Cardinals' Class AA team is in the final year of a two-year contract in Kodak, Tenn., and those players will relocate to the $32 million Hammons Field in Springfield.

"The Diablos name was not part of the sale," Miles said. "What they are buying is access to the Texas League."

Managing partner Bobby Brett announced the sale late Monday just before a Diablos home game. A second news conference was scheduled for this afternoon in Springfield.

Brett, who manages Brett Sports and Entertainment, said the sale came after a bidding war with the Springfield group and at least one other group of investors.

The Diablos have played in the Texas League for all but one year of their existence.

Among the Major Leaguers who spent time on the team is Gary Sheffield, now an outfielder with the New York Yankees. Diamondbacks left-handed pitcher Randy Johnson pitched for the Diablos while rehabilitating from injury last year.

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