Brewers Return to Midwest League

Milwaukee's four-year relationship with West Virginia, hot off its second straight South Atlantic League championship series appearance, ended officially Friday. So, the Brewers are returning to the Midwest League--where they were affiliated with the Beloit team for 22 year--this time in Appleton.

Milwaukee is nearly finished in lining up its minor league teams after the Brewers inked two-year deals with their Class AA affiliate Huntsville in the Southern League and their Rookie League entrant in the Pioneer League, Helena.

Those contracts will expire Sept. 30, 2010, which coincides with pacts in place for Triple A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League and high Single A Brevard County of the Florida State League.

Meanwhile, the Brewers are scheduled to announce a four-year working relationship to return to the Midwest League, this time with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of Appleton. A two-week window for major league teams to negotiate with prospective new farm teams began last Tuesday.

That replaces the team's affiliation with West Virginia, which officially joined the Pittsburgh Pirates organization Friday and ended Milwaukee's connection after four seasons. Seattle had been the Rattlers' parent club since 1993. The Mariners and Texas Rangers were the only other teams besides the Brewers who didn't have a low Class A team in place.

Milwaukee had a 22-year tie to the Midwest League's Beloit franchise, which ended in 2004. However, the situation would be much improved as far as facilities go with Fox Cities Stadium being one of the top ball parks in the league, whereas Beloit, currently affiliated with the Minnesota Twins through the end of 2010, is still trying to work out a deal for a new stadium in the Stateline area.

Returning to Wisconsin no doubt provides a big boost in fan interest and support and creates a nice marketing device for both clubs and provides the Brewers the advantage of having a place just up the road for injury rehab assignments and the like. Stay tuned.

As for the Brewers' other rookie league setup, they own the Arizona Brewers, so they don't have to worry about renewing a player development contract.

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