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Princeton WhistlePigs depart Appalachian League

Princeton WhistlePigsDeclaring that putting money into ballpark improvements would benefit players and not local fans, the nonprofit owner of the Princeton WhistlePigs (W.Va.) announced the team is dropping out of the summer-collegiate Appalachian League.

The Princeton Baseball Association announced the departure of the Appy League team.

The former Princeton Pirates were launched in 1988 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, played as the coop Princeton Patriots in 1990 and then played under the Cincinnati Reds (1991-1996) and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Rays in 1997-2020. When Major League Baseball took over Minor League Baseball, the Appy League was removed as a Rookie-level circuit and then repositioned as a summer-collegiate league.

It would be surprising if summer-collegiate ball returned to Princeton, population 5,872. Technically, Princeton is part of the Bluefield (W.Va.) metro area–the cities are just 15 miles or so apart–and while Princeton Baseball Association isn’t necessarily closing the door on summer-collegiate ball returning, the odds don’t appear too good. From MetroNews:

“There is a growing list of wants and demands by the players, coaches, and the league to compete to have world class facilities to attract the college players the league now consists of,” said Adam Sarver. a member of the Board for the Princeton Baseball Association….

“We’ve supported the Appalachian League since 1988, but the level of commitment and constant upgrades to things these players, coaches, and leagues want is getting a little bit outrageous,” he explained.

The stadium and facilities in Princeton are owned by the Mercer County School Board and the operations are funded by donations through the Hunnicutt Foundation. Donors were starting to question how their dollars were benefiting the community rather than a group of baseball players from other parts of the country who would spend only a summer in the area and never return.

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