We expected something to happen, and it was announced today.
And the Pelicans announced it on their end as well.
The Pelicans announced that they are excited about the new affiliation with the Cubs, believing that the "iconic" Cubs brand will draw even in South Carolina. They also believe that the Cubs strong farm system and top prospects will help attendance, which is currently fifth in the eight-team Carolina League. However, that is more than 100,000 fans a year more than Daytona, who were second in Florida State League attendance.
The Pelicans had been a Rangers franchise, and Cubs and Cubs farm hands such as Kyle Hendricks, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Arodys Vizcaino and Christian Villanueva all played for the Pelicans.
For the Cubs, the move means better weather. The stadium in Myrtle Beach has undergone a lot of upgrades over the past decade and is now considered to be one of the best stadiums in the Carolina League. The agreement is for two years.
Additionally, there is a family connection as Myrtle Beach owner Chuck Greenberg's son Jeff is the Coordinator of Baseball Operations for the Cubs front office. (Don't ask me what that job does.)
So the Cubs return to the Carolina League for the first time since 1992 when they were affiliated with Winston-Salem. Winston-Salem is now a White Sox affiliate, so there will be more Chicago Showdowns in the minors. They will also get to face off against minor leaguers from the Red Sox, Orioles and Nationals, whom the Cubs currently did not share a league with.
Daytona was a great Cubs affiliate for 22 years and it is sad to see them go. But we welcome the Pelicans to the Cubs family and look forward to following the Pelicans in 2015 and 2016.