Courtesy of RedWingsBaseball.com
Rochester will be the new Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. After spending the last two seasons in Fresno, Frontier Field will be the home of the Nationals top prospects beginning in 2021.
The Nationals will usher in a new era of Red Wings Baseball as Rochester’s fourth major league partner in their long history joining the Cardinals (1928-1960), Orioles (1961-2002) and Twins (2003-2020). The Nationals will become the first National League affiliate of the Wings since the Cardinals.
“We are thrilled to announce our new affiliation with the Washington Nationals. With having had only three previous Major League affiliates, this represents an historic change for the Red Wings. I think our fans will enjoy the geographic closeness of the two cities, making it easy to follow their favorite players to the Big Leagues, and it’s exciting to have this new relationship with the team from the Nation’s Capital. Even more so, this is a fine organization with great ownership and baseball operations people, and we are looking forward to working with them as we move on to the next chapter in Red Wings history. We want to thank Senator Chuck Schumer for his advocacy of the Red Wings in helping to secure this affiliation by speaking directly with the Commissioner of Baseball and the Nationals’ managing principal owner, Mark Lerner. His support has been very important to us,” said Red Wings President/CEO/COO Naomi Silver.
“We are very excited to partner with the Rochester Red Wings and to have our Triple-A affiliate back in the region,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “The Red Wings are a well-built, well-run organization that will be an asset to our player development system and we are proud to be a part of Rochester, New York’s rich baseball tradition that dates back to the late 1800’s.”
While the 2019 World Series Champions have never been affiliated with the Red Wings there are some ties to the organization and our city. The Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President, Player Personnel , Doug Harris pitched for the Red Wings at Silver Stadium in 1996. And minor league coaches Tommy Shields (1991-92) and Matthew Lecroy (2007) both played for the Red Wings. Former Red Wings manager Frank Robinson also managed the Nationals in 2005 and 2006 and former Red Wings second baseman Davey Johnson managed the Nationals from 2011-2013.
The Nationals have also played a role in the history of Frontier Field. Syracuse faced the Wings as a Nationals affiliate on May 19, 2010 when a 21-year-old phenom named Stephen Strasburg faced the Wings and threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out nine in 5-1 victory for Syracuse. A crowd of 12,590 packed an electric Frontier Field that night posting which was at the time the 8th largest crowd in the history of the 14-year-old ballpark. Frontier Field also hosted Bryce Harper’s final minor league games in April of 2012 when he visited as a member of the Syracuse Chiefs who were a Nationals affiliate.