DENVER (AP) — Minor league baseball will be given new life in Colorado next season with the addition of three teams in the state.
An eight-team Pioneer League unveiled by Major League Baseball Monday will include the Grand Junction Rockies, Rocky Mountain Vibes in Colorado Springs and Northern Colorado Owlz in Windsor, The Denver Post reports.
The Pioneer League has been designated a partner of MLB, with teams no longer affiliated with specific major league teams beginning in 2021.
The teams will instead operate as independent clubs in Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah.
The teams beyond Colorado include the Billings Mustangs, Great Falls Voyagers and Missoula PaddleHeads in Montana, the Ogden Raptors in Utah and the Idaho Falls Chukars.
All the teams will retain their existing names and brands under the new partnership.
“We have the backing and the help of MLB to get started. We are fortunate to still have that relationship. But there is still a lot of stuff to be worked out,” said Mick Ritter, president and general manager of the Grand Junction Rockies.
MLB said in a statement it will provide initial funding for Pioneer League operating expenses, ballpark scouting technology and a procedure for player transfers to MLB clubs.