Fans of the East Texas Pump Jacks have a brand-new opponent to prepare for in 2009. And it might just lead to headlines like, “Pump Jacks Pluck Rosebuds”!
The Texas Collegiate League today officially announced the addition of an expansion franchise in Victoria, Texas. The new team, which was announced at a press conference today, will begin play in the 2009 season.
The team will be operated by Victoria Pro Baseball, LLC, which is owned by local businessman Tracy Young.
Pump Jacks general manager Mike Lieberman commented that the new team is a boon for both Victoria and the TCL.
“Victoria is about to find out what East Texas baseball fans discovered this past summer: TCL baseball is fun, exciting, affordable, and family-friendly,” said Lieberman. “The new franchise is also good for the league, because Victoria is a very strong market. Fans across the league should be applauding the addition of Victoria to the TCL.”
League president Uri Geva was on hand for the announcement, adding that this is just one step in a continued plan of deliberate growth for the TCL. “Expansion is one of our top priorities as a league, and we are evaluating a number of future options for the league’s growth. Adding a strong market like Victoria provides a great boost to the league and opens the door for potential future expansion, especially to the south.”
This marks the third consecutive season in which the league has added an expansion team. The Pump Jacks joined the fold this past summer, and the Brazos Valley Bombers began the expansion streak in 2007. The Coppell Copperheads and the defending champion McKinney Marshals make up the rest of the five-team TCL.
The new Victoria franchise will play its home games at Riverside Stadium. Like Driller Park, the Pump Jacks’ home field, historic Riverside Stadium has been updated and upgraded in recent years.
The first order of business for the new franchise will be to select a nickname. The most popular nickname from past minor league teams in Victoria was Rosebuds, which dates back to 1910 and was shared by no fewer than four franchises. In fact, the last minor league team to call Victoria home, as a member of the Lone Star League in 1977, was known as the Rosebuds. Other nicknames used by Victoria minor league teams include the Cowboys, Toros, Giants, and Eagles.
Just like the Pump Jacks, the new Victoria franchise will be conducting a “Name The Team” contest to choose the team’s moniker. Fans can enter by visiting the team’s official web site, www.baseballinvictoria.com.
Victoria’s baseball history dates back to the original Rosebuds in 1910, then members of the Southwest Texas League. Victoria has been home to minor league affiliates of the both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers as well as the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers, and Baltimore Orioles. The last baseball franchise to call Victoria home was a member of the Lone Star League in 1977. Alumni of Victoria’s minor league teams include 1960 National League Rookie of the Year Frank Howard and Tommy Davis, who won a World Series and became an all-star with the L.A. Dodgers.
With Victoria in the fold, the TCL will turn its attention to developing a schedule. A schedule for the 48-game season will be developed in the coming weeks, with an announcement tentatively scheduled for the middle of December.
Fans who want to see the new Victoria franchise and the rest of the Pump Jacks season can now purchase season tickets for the 2009 campaign. The team has added a more affordable Grandstand season ticket option, offering general admission tickets for every game at the low price of just $105 for adults and $85 for children and seniors. Lower Box seats, with in-your-seat wait service, and Upper Box seats are also available. Complete season ticket information is available here.
With the holiday season on the horizon, the Jacks will soon have gift ideas for fans of all ages. Exciting news about TCL expansion will also be announced in the near future. To follow all of the Pump Jacks’ off-season developments, log on to the team’s official web site, pumpjacksbaseball.com.