How Pro Baseball Works: Mapping the Minor Leagues

by Todd Traub  on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 12:00 am  

Torii Hunter (Photo by Joe Seer/

The Angels’ organization includes three rookie teams in Arizona, the Dominican Republic and Orem, Utah; a low A team in Burlington, Iowa; a high A team in the area of southern California known as the Inland Empire; the Class AA Travelers; and the Class AAA Salt Lake Bees.

The Royals’ setup includes four rookie teams, in the Dominican; Surprise, Ariz; Burlington, N.C.; and Idaho Falls; Class A teams in Kane County, Ill., and Wilmington, Del.; the Class AA Naturals; and the Class AAA Omaha Storm Chasers.

Prior to the Angels, the Travelers were affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals for 35 years. The Naturals have been with Kansas City since 1995, when they were located in Wichita, Kan., and known as the Wranglers.

Wichita moved to Springdale in 2008.

A major league team will supply players, field staff and trainers and make all field-level personnel decisions, promoting or demoting players and hiring and firing coaches and managers as it sees fit. The minor league management operates the local ballpark, providing uniforms and some equipment and helping to care for players’ immediate needs while trying to turn a profit.

It is a system that sometimes frustrates fans, who often see the best players promoted in the midst of pennant drives. Since winning baseball sometimes takes a back seat to the needs of the major league club, the minors do what they can to fill seats through giveaways and promotions, like the Travs’ wildly popular Clunker Car Night.



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