The Victoria Baseball Club, LLC, owners of the Victoria Generals, have announced the location for their second franchise in the Texas Collegiate League. The new franchise will be located in Weimar, Texas and play their home games at historic Veterans Memorial Park. The team will be called the Texas Tomcats.
“I’ve had my heart set on the Weimar area since the first day I saw the facilities and community support there,” said Blake Koch, the team’s new general manager. “Weimar and the surrounding areas have a rich history of baseball that I believe will fuel this franchise to be successful on the field and in the community for many years to come.”
The city of Weimar is located on Interstate 10 and US 90 between San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, in western Colorado County. The Tomcats will hope to generate a strong fan base in Weimar along with the surrounding cities of Schulenburg, Columbus, La Grange, Eagle Lake, Flatonia, and Halletsville, as well as several other smaller communities nearby.
“I truly believe that many of the local communities will be able to identify with this new team and will enjoy watching the style of baseball that the TCL has to offer,” Koch continued.
The Tomcats will play their home games on Strickland Field at Veterans Memorial Park. The park was built in 1948 after World War II by the Weimar veterans and was the first lighted field between San Antonio and Houston. Tom Strickland has managed the field for over 30 years and has been a key contributor in getting the new franchise to make Weimar its home.
The nickname “Tomcats” was created by the minds of several local citizens. The high school mascot in Weimar is the Wildcats, so the “cat” theme and identity is maintained. The “Tom” in Tomcats is after Tom Strickland, who has been a mainstay in Weimar baseball for many years. Also, the local Veterans Hall owns the rights to the field, so the Tomcats nickname can be seen as a tribute to the local veterans by interpreting the name to represent the F-14 Tomcat fighter plane. The Tomcat was the United States Navy’s primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor, and tactical reconnaissance platform from 1974 to 2006.
“I really like the uniqueness of the nickname,” Koch stated. “I feel that everyone from the local communities can identify with some aspect of it.”
The Tomcat’s front office has already begun working on creating team logos and uniforms and is open to any suggestions or submissions by community members. The Tomcat’s colors will be purple, black, and silver.
The Tomcats will play in the Texas Collegiate League, a wooden bat summer league composed of several of the top collegiate baseball players from around the country. The Tomcats join the Victoria Generals, Brazos Valley (Bryan) Bombers, McKinney Marshals, East Texas (Kilgore) Pump Jacks, and the defending champion North Texas (Coppell) Copperheads in one of the top summer collegiate leagues in the country. This marks the fourth consecutive season in which the league has added an expansion team; the Bombers joined the TCL in 2007, the Pump Jacks in 2008, and the Generals were added to the circuit last summer.
“The TCL has showed tremendous growth over the past four years as is evident by the number of expansion teams that have formed over that time span,” Koch commented. “The TCL has its sights set on other new locations for the 2011 season and is always looking for potential ownership groups.”
The TCL is entering its seventh season in 2010, but has already established itself as one of the top summer collegiate leagues in the country. The circuit has produced more than 230 players drafted by Major League organizations, including 19 players last year. Notable TCL alumni include Hunter Pence, a contender for the 2007 National League Rookie of the Year award with the Houston Astros; Clay Buchholz, who tossed a no-hitter in his second Major League start with the Boston Red Sox; and Chris Davis, a budding young star with the Texas Rangers.
The 2010 TCL season will kick off the first week of June and run through the third week of August. All games in the TCL typically start at 7:05pm, giving fans plenty of time to get to the park following a workday. The full Tomcats schedule will be released later this month along with the playoff format.
Koch will be doing double duty this year, working as the general manager for both the Texas Tomcats and the Victoria Generals.
“I am excited about the opportunity to manage both ball clubs from a front office standpoint,” said Koch. “My favorite part of my job is being able to build a team’s roster by working with coaches and players to get the best-of-the-best from the college ranks. It’s been fun putting these two teams together.”
Koch plans to give the team a local feel by signing a few players from the local community who are currently playing in college.
“I think we’ll have an interesting mix of players who grew up nearby along with other great players from all across the country,” Koch continued. “My goal is to continue to bring in players that have a future in professional baseball.”
The Tomcat’s front office is already working to identify host families/homes for the players to live with during the summer. A host family is asked to provide a bed, two meals per day, access to laundry facilities, and a welcoming environment for the players. Host families will have the opportunity to form lasting relationships with their player(s). Each host home will be provided with two season tickets for all home games per player that they house during the summer. Anyone interested in housing a player is encouraged to contact the Tomcat’s front office for further details (361-485-9522).
Tickets for the Tomcat’s home games will go on sale later this month when the schedule is released. The Tomcat’s front office is currently working to create team logos, uniforms, merchandise, a website, and much more.