The short-season-A New York-Penn League announced plans to place a team in a new Morgantown (W.Va.) ballpark to be shared with the West Virginia Mountaineers, beginning with the 2015 season.
The new ballpark is expected to break ground in 2014 with a New York-Penn League club potentially playing its first game at the new facility in 2015.
“The New York-Penn League is thrilled to announce its intent to bring a professional baseball franchise to Morgantown, West Virginia for the 2015 season,” said New York-Penn League President Ben Hayes. “The New York-Penn League is already established as one of the premier leagues in all of Minor League Baseball (averaging over 1.7 million fans each season over the past decade), and by adding the vibrant northern West Virginia regional community and a top-notch facility that it would share with West Virginia University, we know the New York-Penn League will continue to reach new levels of success.
“The success of the New York-Penn League over its 74-year history is not limited to its outstanding attendance or its great facilities, but is also reflected by the players listed on its club rosters. Such players have included Baseball Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Nellie Fox, Phil Niekro, Tony Perez, Jim Rice, Robin Yount and Wade Boggs, and other great players such as Ken Boyer, Pete Rose, John Elway, Don Mattingly, Randy Johnson, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Beltran, Evan Longoria and many more.”
The ballpark has a financing plan that recently approved state approval for its TIF component. It will be located in the University Town Centre development, and will overlook the city of Morgantown and West Virginia University from the bluff above Monongahela River.
“Morgantown’s population, demographics and corporate community assets make it one of the best small cities in America to call home,” said Pat O’Conner, President & CEO of Minor League Baseball. “The addition of a New York-Penn League club will give Morgantown yet another resource to enhance the quality of life of its citizens.”
Four New York-Penn League clubs currently share facilities with colleges and universities. The New York-Penn League’s State College franchise, for example, is affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals and manages and maintains the facility it shares with the PSU Nittany Lions’ baseball team, playing out of the Big 10.
“The collaboration between the State College Spikes and Penn State University has been beneficial to both sides from many standpoints, most notably the ability to share operational costs in order to provide a cleaner, safer and more fan-friendly experience for the fans who attend events at the ballpark,” said Jason Dambach, Senior Vice President & General Manager, State College Spikes. “But the real winner has been the community. Having a ballpark our size and the amenities that it offers has allowed us to open our doors to a number of charity and other special events beyond baseball games that provide both the franchise and the University with a greater opportunity to connect with the community.”
RELATED STORIES: New Morgantown ballpark advances; TIF district approved for Morgantown ballpark; First TIF approved for new Morgantown ballpark; New West Virginia ballpark greenlighted by Monogalia County; West Virginia ballpark renderings released; Morgantown emerging as potential Bucs farm-team home?; Monongalia County approves WVU ballpark; Work continues on new WVU ballpark; WVU: We want new ballpark for us, NY-Penn League team
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