The Winnipeg Goldeyes have added one more prize to cap their exciting debut season in the American Association.
The Goldeyes announced Tuesday that the club has been named the AA's organization of the year for 2011 by the league's field managers and media personnel.
"I think the only thing better would have been to make it to the final and win," said Andrew Collier, the Goldeyes general manager in an interview with the Free Press. "Winning 60 games in the regular season, Rick being manager of the year and Price Kendall being rookie of the year and now this, I think we couldn't have asked for much more in our first year in the American Association."
This is the sixth time the Goldeyes have won this award in the past nine seasons. While in the Northern League, Winnipeg was named the organization of the year in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009.
"This award illustrates the respect the Goldeyes have in the American Association and it's a privilege to be given this award by the other 13 teams in the league," Goldeyes owner and CEO Sam Katz said in a media release. He could not be reached for comment as he was travelling back from the league meetings held over the weekend in Gary, Ind.
"It speaks to the quality of staff we have, from the general manager to the bat boy, and the work they do to make the organization successful every season."
Collier said the award indicates that not only opposing teams visiting Shaw Park took note of the hard work by the team's staff and players as well as the great fan support.
"It had to be word-of-mouth because only eight of the other 13 teams in the league made the trip here," Collier said. "I guess some teams that we played who played other teams that we didn't relayed their experiences to other people around the league. We're just honoured to have this award bestowed on us."
At the AA's annual league meetings, a key change was approved for the 2012 season's playoff structure. Division winners will be able to choose whether they want to host the first two games or the last three of the best-of-five playoff series.
In 2011 the league had decided the higher-finishing teams would host the first two games to give teams more time to sell tickets to guaranteed games. This resulted in the Goldeyes being at St. Paul for the deciding games in their best-of-five semifinal series against the Saints. St. Paul beat Winnipeg 5-4 in the fifth game and won the series 3-2.