Are The Texas Rangers Secretly Behind Shreveport’s Baseball Dream?
This week, the City of Shreveport announced some major plans for the area currently occupied by an abandoned Fair Grounds Field. Parts of the plan were reveled during a press conference with Shreveport officials, and REV Entertainment. Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins outlined some basic details, but no specifics were offered.
Obviously, this left many Shreveport area residents uneasy about the deal. No specific team attached to a sports venue, no revenue plan to announce...really it was just a group of people telling others that they really hope to have some kind of baseball played for profit in Shreveport in the future. Bit weird.
However, after checking out some of the available details, there might be more to this than the original press conference suggested.
Insert, the Texas Rangers.
The organization was present with Shreveport officials at the baseball press conference were from REV Entertainment, the group that was being announced as the city's partner. On the surface, REV just seems like another organization knocking on Shreveport's door with a big idea. But actually poking around their business portfolio, there's actually a lot to pay attention to.
REV Entertainment is a company owned and operated by the Texas Rangers baseball team, according to the Sports Business Journal. In fact, REV Entertainment President Sean Decker is literally listed on the Texas Rangers website under Front Office personnel. As you can see in this picture, Sean Decker was actually at the press conference in Shreveport...
This means the City of Shreveport is effectively partnering with the Texas Rangers to bring baseball to Shreveport.
That's a whole new coat of paint on this story.
Instead of being a chance to bring an independent professional team, or a collegiate wooden bat summer league team to Shreveport, this sets up to be an actual MLB-affiliated team. The kind of team Shreveport used to have. Where players would work their way up to the majors, or All Stars would have rehab assignments.
The other part of the question though: why would the Texas Rangers want anything to do with Shreveport?
Well, Major League Baseball is actually moving in a direction that would welcome a Rangers-Shreveport partnership. After some heavy negotiations between players and owners, MLB is now moving to a more solidified minor league system. This includes housing being provided to players, salary changes, upgrades to ballparks, and a more streamlined system for travel with minor league teams. Oh, and a plan to move minor league teams closer to the major league squads.
Which brings us back to Shreveport, just a few hours down the road from the Texas Rangers compound in Arlington. Moving some minor league operations to Shreveport would make a ton of sense with this new outline that MLB is looking at of the minor league system.
In the Rangers system, their Triple-A team is already close, the Round Rock Express. Their Double-A team is also pretty close, with the Frisco RoughRiders. But their Single-A clubs aren't close at all. Their "high" A team are the Hickory Crawdads located in Hickory, North Carolina, while their "low" A team are the Down East Wood Ducks of Kinston, North Carolina.
If the Rangers were going to bring their teams closer, they would probably look at shifting one of those closer to the Dallas Metroplex. The team in Hickory might make some sense for this project too. Their stadium was built in 1992, has only had a couple of small renovations, only seats 5,000 people...and happens to be named "Crawdads".
Moving the Crawdads to Shreveport would make so much sense, it hurts.
Now, this isn't saying that is what's happening. This is all rumor and innuendo. We have no sources or inside knowledge of this deal. All we know is that Major League Baseball is in the middle of some heavy realignment in their minor league system, the MLB team physically closest to Shreveport has a team named "Crawdads" on the East Coast, and the Texas Rangers just announced a massive partnership to bring baseball back to Shreveport.
Oh, and did we mention that REV Entertainment owns the Hickory Crawdads? That might have been important too.
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