A statement released by the Red Wings on Tuesday night read that the the team had been informed by the Twins that their “long-term affiliation has most likely come to an end.” The Twins and Red Wings became partners in September 2002 and were slated to continue their relationship into an 18th season in 2020, but the season was canceled due to the pandemic.
The Red Wings said they hoped to hear from Major League Baseball regarding a new affiliate at some point in the next few weeks.
Prior to its partnership with the Twins, the Red Wings were the longtime affiliate for the Baltimore Orioles from 1961 to 2002, and, previous to that, the affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1929 to 1960. Founded in 1899, the Red Wings are the oldest continuously operated minor league sports franchise in North America.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, which first reported the break up on Tuesday, wrote that the the change was part of a massive overhaul of professional baseball that would see new relationships between big league and minor league teams.
Red Wings President Naomi Silver called the team's affiliation with the Twins " a good one."
“We will always have fond memories of our time spent as a Twins affiliate, but it’s exciting to contemplate the future in this new era of Red Wings Baseball,” Silver said.
The Red Wings note that they made the postseason two times during the Twins era. In 2006, manager Stan Cliburn led the Red Wings to the Governors’ Cup Finals before losing the series 3-2 to the Toledo Mud Hens. In 2013, the Red Wings, led by manager Gene Glynn, captured a playoff spot on the last day of the regular season before losing the semifinals series 3-2 to Pawtucket.
The Star Tribune reported that major league affiliates will be reduced to 120 teams — four per major league team — with short-season leagues being eliminated.
The newspaper said that major league teams are using the reorganization to line up more geographically friendly affiliates and that the Twins were interested in teaming up with the St. Paul Saints.
David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Randy Gorbman is the news director at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.