With the official announcement being made today, the Lexington Legends have found a new home with the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, one of three MLB Partner Leagues.
The former Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals were not included as part of the new 120-team MiLB structure. The Legends were three-time champions of the South Atlantic League, including back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. The team averaged more than 425,000 attendees, hosting home games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, located near downtown Lexington, Kentucky.
The team is led by Owner/CEO Andy Shea and Chief Operating Officer Jesse Scaglion.
“We are excited and honored to join the Atlantic League,” Shea said. “During the 2020 season we created, I had multiple players and fans tell me ‘you pretty much have an Atlantic League roster on the field.’ From that point forward we realized very clearly that the Atlantic League is the premier MLB Partner League and that our community, ballpark, and fanbase are a perfect match. We are also very thankful for the support and partnership with Major League Baseball during this process. Together, we will all be able to continue growing the game of baseball in our local communities and across the globe.”
Atlantic League President Rick White stated in the release: “We are very excited to add such a high-caliber ball club to our league. We congratulate Andy Shea and the entire Legends organization.The Legends bring a tradition of outstanding baseball, operating excellence, and dedication to their community that make them a perfect fit for the ALPB.”
Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations also added: “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the Lexington Legends as they join the Atlantic League in 2021. We have developed an excellent working relationship with the Legends and congratulate them on this next step for the franchise.”
More information about the league’s 2021 structure, team rosters, and schedules will be released in the near future. The Legends will be joining the Gastonia Honey Hunters, High Point Rockers, Lancaster Barnstormers, Long Island Ducks, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, and York Revolution. The league lost the Somerset Patriots and Sugar Land Skeeters as they transitioned to Minor League Baseball affiliates for the New York Yankees and Houston Astros.
The Atlantic League is the first Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing 42 million fans to its family-friendly ballparks over its 24-year history. For more information, you can visit the main site.