Yankees eye Ocala for minor-league team

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By Special to the Chronicle

OCALA — The city of Ocala is in preliminary discussions with the New York Yankees organization. The dialogue is centered on the possible relocation of the Yankees’ Class A Advanced affiliate minor league team, currently situated in Tampa, and does not include Yankees’ spring training.

“Any proposal for relocation to Ocala is contingent upon approval by the Ocala City Council, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and the Florida State League,” said Anthony Bruno of Yankee Global Enterprises LLC.

“The city is excited about the opportunity to investigate the potential immediate and collateral benefits that might be gained from its association with a prestigious professional sports franchise and is currently exercising due diligence,” said Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn.

Movement of the team is being considered as a means to bring a professional sports franchise to an underserved market with a strong fan support base.

The Tampa Yankees were established in 1994. In 1996 they moved to the new George M. Steinbrenner Field, the New York Yankees’ spring training facility. Since their inception they have won five league championships, in 1994, 2001, 2004, 2009, and 2010.

The city of Ocala and New York Yankees anticipate release of further information concerning the proposal in the coming weeks as they each continue exploration of the issues and development of findings.