This affiliation relationship is the second longest current consecutive tenure in the Pioneer League behind only the Billings Mustangs and Cincinnati Reds affiliation agreement. The Osprey franchise, which moved to Missoula from Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1999, has been affiliated with the D-backs since the 1996 season - one year before Arizona began to play Major League Baseball as an expansion franchise.
"We have been with the Arizona Diamondbacks since they were granted an expansion franchise and we see no reason to end that relationship now," explained Matt Ellis, Osprey executive vice president. "We feel the Diamondbacks are one of the best run and quality organizations in the Major Leagues. We share philosophies of developing quality players on and off the field, and the importance of community involvement through our players and franchises. We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the Diamondbacks and look forward to the next four years and beyond."
Over the years, the Missoula Osprey and Arizona Diamondbacks have combined to develop 36 former Osprey players into Major League ballplayers. Some the of the current stars playing in the Major Leagues who wore an Osprey uniform include: Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado), Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona), Miguel Montero (Arizona), Jose Valverde (Detroit), Gerardo Parra (Arizona), Emilio Bonifacio (Miami), Lyle Overbay (Arizona), Bryan Shaw (Arizona) and Jarrod Parker (Oakland).
"The Arizona Diamondbacks are thrilled to be in Missoula for at least another four years. We take pride in being the only organization the Osprey have been affiliated with," said Mike Bell, director of player development for the Arizona Diamondbacks. "The Ellis family has gone above and beyond what is necessary to ensure our young players have the best environment to grow as players and more importantly as people. We are grateful to the Missoula community for their support, and we are dedicated to putting together high-character, winning teams"
On the field, the Missoula Osprey have won the Pioneer League Championship two times (1999, 2006) and have made the playoffs five times, including two of the last three seasons.
The Osprey will open their home schedule on June 22 against Great Falls. Tickets are available now at the MSO Hub Box Office, located at 140 North Higgins in downtown Missoula, by phone at (406) 543-3300, and at MissoulaOsprey.com online.