Owlz baseball leaves Utah for good, settles in Colorado
Members of the 2019 Orem Owlz baseball teampose for a photo on media day at UCCU Ballpark in Orem on June 12, 2019.
Jeff Katofsky addresses a crowd gathered at the Runyon Sports Complex about his decision to move his minor league baseball team to Pueblo on June 20, 2018, in Pueblo, Colorado. (Zachary Allen, The Pueblo Chieftain)
Members of the 2019 Orem Owlz baseball team laugh talk during media day at UCCU Ballpark in Orem on June 12, 2019.
A member of the 2019 Orem Owlz baseball team sits next to the logo on media day at UCCU Ballpark in Orem on June 12, 2019.
For the last couple of years, the Orem Owlz rookie league baseball franchise had been rumored to be leaving on multiple occasions.
This time, however, the Owlz are gone for good.
Owlz owner Jeff Katofsky confirmed Monday that the team has moved to the Colorado town of Windsor, which is about an hour north of Denver.
“we’re sad to have had to leave Utah, but I spent more than 10 years trying to do this project that I’m doing in Colorado in Utah County and it didn’t work out,” Katofsky said in a phone interview on Monday. “That’s really the impetus for the move more because of the youth sports complex that we’re building in Colorado and not the other way around.”
Minor league baseball announced Monday that the Pioneer League, which the Owlz and the Ogden Raptors had been a part of, would now be designated as a “Partner League” of Major League Baseball. According to the press release, the move “will transform the Rookie Advanced loop into an independent league and comes as part of a series of changes to the Minor League landscape following the expiration of the Professional Baseball Agreement earlier this fall.”
Major League Baseball announced in the release that “it will initially fund the Pioneer League’s operating expenses, provide scouting technology to all eight ballparks and create a procedure for player transfers to MLB organizations.”
While Katofsky is glad that his team will be able to continue to play professional baseball, he’s not certain it will happen in 2021 because of potential issues with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is, however, excited to be able to develop the large youth-sports complex that he has been working on.
“This is something that’s really exciting for not just for thousands but for tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of children all over the country,” Katofsky said. “We’re giving them a great place to learn about being part of a team and competing and getting better at a craft and having fun while educating themselves. They’re learning how to be with people of other races, creeds and religions while helping them grow up. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for forever. Like I said, I wish we could have done it in Utah but that didn’t work itself. We’re excited to do it in northern Colorado.”
He expressed his gratitude to all of the loyal Owlz followers for their years of support.
“We had great fans, the best fans in the league,” Katofsky said. “I wouldn’t change that part of it at all. I feel bad about it because Utah’s wonderful people and we spent a lot of time up there. We had a house up there for more than a decade. Utah is a big part of my family’s life. My kids spent their summers growing up in Utah and we’re gonna miss it. We wish it didn’t have to be this way but it did. All we can do is say goodbye and continue the relationships that we have to the best we can.”