The Winnipeg Goldeyes have been accepted to play in the newly-configured 14-team American Association independent baseball league, beginning next season.
American Association owners voted at a league meeting in Dallas this morning to admit the Goldeyes and three other Northern League teams—the Fargo RedHawks, Kansas City T-Bones and Gary SouthShore Railcats — for the 2011 season.
The move ends a 16-year relationship between the Goldeyes and the Northern League and leaves the future of that league —which now has just four teams remaining—in jeopardy.
"This is an exciting day for the Winnipeg Goldeyes," Goldeyes owner Sam Katz said in a statement this afternoon. "The merger will re-establish the competitive rivalries the Goldeyes once had with the likes of St. Paul, Sioux City, Sioux Falls and Lincoln, while maintaining the longstanding rivalries with Fargo-Moorhead, Gary and Kansas City."
The Goldeyes will play an imbalanced 100-game schedule in the AA, which is roughly the same calbre of baseball and also unaffiliated, just like the Northern League.
The Fish will play in a four-team north division with Fargo, St. Paul Saints and Sioux Falls Fighting Pheasants.
"We're adding four clubs that have excellent operations on and off the field," AA commissioner Miles Wolff said in a statement, "and it's going to make us a very strong 14-team league."