CLEVELAND -- It can take several years for a ballplayer to successfully navigate the road to the Major Leagues. For those striving to reach the big leagues in Cleveland, the journey from Triple-A to The Show is roughly a two-hour drive.
That commute up Interstate 71 from Columbus, Ohio, will continue to be the path to the Majors for Cleveland's Triple-A players for at least the next three seasons. The Indians and Triple-A Columbus announced Wednesday that they have extended their partnership with a two-year player development contract that runs through the 2018 campaign.
"The Clippers create a Major League environment in Triple-A," Indians director of player development Carter Hawkins said in a release. "Our players and staff love playing in Columbus and we can't think of a better setting to develop our players as they make their transition to Cleveland. We could not be happier to extend our partnership and look forward to many more outstanding seasons at Huntington Park."
The Indians have utilized Columbus as their Triple-A team since 2009. In that time period, the Clippers have reached the International League postseason four times and have captured the Governors' Cup (International League championship) three times (2010-11, '15). Columbus has also won the Triple-A championship twice (2010-11) during its time as Cleveland's Triple-A club.
Huntington Park, the home of the Clippers, has also been recognized as one of the best ballparks in the Minor Leagues by various publications.
"The Indians are extremely excited to extend our relationship with the Columbus Clippers," said Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti. "The resources their front office staff provides is always first class, in addition to the state-of-the-art facility and passionate fan base. We look forward to the continued success of our partnership."
Added Clippers president and general manager Ken Schnacke: "Everything about this relationship has been a 'grand slam'; for the fans, for both franchises, and for both cities. We look forward to continuing this relationship and to seeing the Indians win a World Series championship sometime in the near future."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.