Class A Advanced farm team of the Houston Astros, based in Salem, Virginia near Roanoke. The Avalanche are a longtime member of the Carolina League Southern Division. Their affiliation with the Astros starts in the 2003 season; the Avalanche were previously affiliated with the Colorado Rockies 1997-2003, before which they were the Salem Buccaneers and affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates for many years. The Avs play in a fairly new (1995) park, Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium, with a great view of the Blue Ridge Mountains over the right field wall. (To contrast, the Richmond Braves' stadium, The Diamond, has a stretch of Interstate 95 over the left field wall.)

By whatever name, the Salem team has usually been pretty bad. Before 2000, they had finished above .500 in their divisional standings in only two half-seasons since 1988. The Rockies' general inability to provide a good team in Salem had the owner, Kelvin Bowles, talking about switching major league affiliations after the 2000 season, but Bowles wound up renewing the affiliation for another two-year term. This paid immediate dividends, as the 'Lanche won the 2001 Mills Cup championship over the Wilmington Blue Rocks three games to two, after defeating the Kinston Indians two games to one in the Southern Division playoff. Bowles's frustrations with several problems in the Rockies' organization, though, led him to make the Astros switch the next time affiliation contracts came up, after the 2002 season.

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