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Oneonta Tigers become the Connecticut Tigers

Norwich – The much-anticipated, oft-delayed announcement that the minor league baseball Oneonta Tigers will move to Norwich this summer was delayed again this afternoon, but only for 90 minutes to accommodate the team owner stuck for 6 1/2 hours in bad-weather traffic.

Tigers' owner E. Miles Prentice was welcomed by more than 50 people crowded into the City Hall meeting room to hear that minor league professional baseball would return to Dodd Stadium this summer.

Because of the late date for the announcement, the team will be called the Connecticut Tigers this summer, Prentice said, and will play the schedule already announced for Oneonta. Opening day at Dodd Stadium will be Saturday, June 26 against the Vermont Lake Monsters.

The team, affiliated with the Major League Detroit Tigers for this year, are part of the 14-team short-season Class A New York-Penn League, which plays from mid-June through Labor Day weekend.

Prentice said because the team's relocation application still must be approved by Major League and Minor League Baseball, the team cannot sell tickets just yet.

New York-Penn League President Ben Hayes said it could take 30 days for the approval.

Norwich lost the higher-level AA Connecticut Defenders last fall, when the team moved to Richmond, Va.

But Hayes said his league became interested in the Norwich market since rumors surfaced last winter that the Defenders could move.

While the Defenders struggled financially in Norwich, with attendance hovering at 200,000 and advertising revenue dropping sharply with the recession and rumors of the move, so too did the Tigers in Oneonta. The Tigers were last in the league in attendance in 2009, with 23,521 fans in 34 home games.

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