Down two teams due to the Somerset Patriots (AA) and Sugarland Skeeters (AAA) joining the New York Yankees and Houston Astros affiliated organizations, respectively, the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) began the reload in January with the Gastonia Honey Hunters.
Today, ALPB announced it has welcomed the Lexington Legends to the Atlantic League, brining the association to seven teams: the Honey Hunters, Legends, Long Island Ducks, York Revolution, Lancaster Barnstormers, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, and High Point Rockers.
The Kentucky team will begin play in the upcoming ALPB 2021 Championship Season.
The former Class Single-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, the Legends were three-time champions of the South Atlantic League (SAL), including back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. Lexington averaged more than 425,000 attendees each year at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, located near downtown Lexington, Kentucky.
The franchise is led by Owner/CEO Andy Shea and Chief Operating Officer Jesse Scaglion.
“We are excited and honored to join the Atlantic League,” Shea said in a press release. “During the 2020 season we created, I had multiple players and fans tell me ‘you pretty much have an Atlantic League roster on the field.’ From that point forward we realized very clearly that the Atlantic League is the premier MLB Partner League and that our community, ballpark, and fanbase are a perfect match. We are also very thankful for the support and partnership with Major League Baseball during this process. Together, we will all be able to continue growing the game of baseball in our local communities and across the globe.”
Atlantic League President Rick White is thrilled to have the Legends join the association, and feels they will only benefit the ALPB and their community at large with their special brand of baseball going forward.
“We are very excited to add such a high-caliber ballclub to our league, ”White said. “We congratulate Andy Shea and the entire Legends organization. The Legends bring a tradition of outstanding baseball, operating excellence, and dedication to their community that make them a perfect fit for the ALPB.”
MLB officials concur with its league partner, the ALPB, over the excitement of the Legends joining the fold.
“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the Lexington Legends as they join the Atlantic League in 2021,” said Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations. “We have developed an excellent working relationship with the Legends and congratulate them on this next step for the franchise.”
White added that the Atlantic League will soon announce additional news regarding the 2021 Championship Season.
— Jerry Del Priore