Southwest Michigan Devil Rays

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Southwest Michigan Devil Rays
20052006
Battle Creek, Michigan
SWMDevilRaysLogo.jpg Logo devilrays.gif
Team logo Cap insignia
Class-level
Previous Class A
Minor league affiliations
League Midwest League
Division Eastern Division
Major league affiliations
Previous Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Team data
Previous names
Southwest Michigan Devil Rays
Previous parks
C.O. Brown Stadium

The Southwest Michigan Devil Rays were an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the Midwest League in 2005 and 2006. The club began play in 1995 and was previously known as the Michigan Battle Cats and the Battle Creek Yankees. They played their home games at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek, Michigan. Following the 2006 season, the team moved to Midland, Michigan and became known as the Great Lakes Loons.

Team history[edit]

In September 2004, the New York Yankees announced a four-year player development contract with the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League, dropping their contract with the Battle Creek Yankees.[1] A few days later, Battle Creek signed a two-year player development contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays; the Devil Rays' previous low-A affiliate had been Charleston. With the announcement, it was obvious that the team's name would need to change.[2] In December, Fun Entertainment, LLC announced that it had purchased the Battle Creek team and renamed it as the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays.[3]

In 2005, the Midwest League comprised 14 teams in two divisions. Its championship was determined by a three-round playoff among eight teams, including the first- and second-half leaders from each division and several wild card teams. In the first half, the Devil Rays finished in fourth place of the six teams in the Eastern Division with a 33–36 record. In the second half they improved to third place with a 39–31 records, four games behind. They qualified for the playoffs, where they lost to the South Bend Silver Hawks, two games to none. Pitcher Andy Sonnanstine went 10–4 with a 2.55 earned run average and 103 strikeouts.[4][5]

In January 2006, the owners of the Devil Rays announced a deal to sell the team to an investment group in Midland Michigan, with plans to relocate the team there for the 2007 season. A foundation was formed in Midland to build a new stadium with 80 percent private funding.[6]

In the first half of 2006, the Devil Rays tied for fifth place in the Eastern Division with a 32—37 record. In the second half they had last place to themselves, as their record fell to 30–40. Their strength was pitching; Jake McGee went 7–9 with a 2.96 earned run average and led the league in strikeouts with 171, and Wade Davis went 7–12 with a 3.02 earned run average and 165 strikeouts. Reliever Greg Dupas 4–2 with a 1.93 earned run average and 59 strikeouts in 56 innings. McGee and Dupas were named to the league's post-season all-star team.[7][8][9]

Year-by-year record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
2005 72-67 4th (t) Joe Szekely Lost in 1st round
2006 62-77 12th Skeeter Barnes

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sapakoff, Gene (2004-09-15). "RiverDogs to announce Yankees deal AH: 4-year partnership begins in '05 season". The Post and Courier. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  2. ^ "Battle Creek, Tampa Bay Devil Rays sign 2-year PDC". OSC: OurSports Central. 2004-09-22. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  3. ^ "Meet the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays". OSC: OurSports Central. 2004-12-20. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  4. ^ "Midwest League 2005". MWLguide.com. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  5. ^ "2005 Southwest Michigan Devil Rays". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  6. ^ "Midland gets Battle Creek baseball team". Ludington Daily News. 2006-01-13. pp. B1. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  7. ^ "Midwest League 2006: Summary". MWLguide.com. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  8. ^ "Midwest League 2006: Season Highlights". MWLguide.com. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  9. ^ "2006 Southwest Michigan Devil Rays". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-09-13.