Anthony Sparks/MetroNews photo

Frank Coonelly, presidnt of the Pittsburgh Pirates, speaks Monday during a news conference announcing the relocation of a Single-A franchise to Morgantown in 2015.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Praising a community of supportive ticket-buyers, a new ballpark that’s under construction and a reliable group of minor-league owners, Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly called Morgantown “the perfect blend” for the team’s relocated Single-A affiliate.

The New York-Penn League team, known as the Jamestown Jammers, is slated to move from Jamestown, N.Y., before the 2015 season and will choose a new nickname during a local contest this fall.

The Pirates are enthused about having more short-season prospects playing so close to Pittsburgh, and a just a couple hours away from the the high Single-A team in Charleston.

“To partner with a minor-league community within our geographic each, that’s really what we strive for,” Coonelly said. “We could not allow any other major-league team to become affiliated with Morgantown, W.Va. This had to be us.”

Courtesy photo

A rendering of the Morgantown ballpark scheduled to host a relocated Single-A team in 2015.

The Jammers are owned by Rich Baseball, a group tied to the frozen-food manufacturer Rich Products Corp., which claims more than $3.3 billion in annual sales. The company’s baseball arm also owns the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

“Being successful in the minor leagues really means that you realize who your bosses are, and your bosses are the folks who come to watch your games, hopefully every night,” said Bob Rich. “I’ve never thought that I was a minor-league baseball owner—I’ve thought that I was a steward of baseball for the people in the community.”

The new ballpark currently being constructed as part of the University Towne Center project is targeting to host the West Virginia baseball team next spring before the minor-league short season begins next June.

“There are a handful of ballparks that I would pay to sit in even if there wasn’t a game going on, and this ballpark is going to be one of them,” said Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball.

The funds for the 3,500-seat ballpark were arranged through a $16.2 million tax-increment financing district approved on a third attempt by the state legislature in early 2013. Crews broke ground on the site in October 2013.

Said Monongalia County Commissioner Eldon Callen: “Two and a half years ago I never thought this day would come.”

The Jammers have played in Jamestown since 1994 but attendance has lagged severely of late. Through 31 games this season, the team was drawing only 751 fans per game—last in a 14-team league where eight franchises are averaging more than 3,000.

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Comments

  • Ron -from Morgantown

    First let me say I love southern West Virginia . I wish Morgantown was actually located around the 99 mile marker - so we wouldn't have to deal w the sw penn idiots . As far as the Jammers - I love the idea of having professional baseball in Morgantown . Maybe WVU players will play for them . Anyone remember Jammers Sports Bar ? ( in Star City ) Man that place was 10 years ahead of its time . It was a paradise for sports fans . Don't let that rendition of the ballpark fool you , the place will be 100 per cent synthetic - not one blade of grass - not one scoop of dirt anywhere .

    • jeepster

      from sw penn. not an idiot. I'll be coming. deal with it. Don't worry,I will cross the border legally.

  • El Supremo

    I have owned season tickets from single A to the Major Leagues. Without exception, Single A players hustle more than at any other level of the profession.

    Should make for interesting summers.

  • David Kennedy

    Excited about the new baseball facility...the WVU team and the minor league team that will make their home here at that facility.
    We are coming of age...finally.
    Thank you, gentlemen for bringing us more of America' game...nothing like it...and never will be.

  • Where's Biafore?

    Where are the Biafore brothers to complain about this development? It doesn't involve them, so I thought they'd be against it.

    • AJ

      The ballpark will be in Granville i.e outside the Morgantown city limits. So their won't be any cckblocking from the Biaforas on this one.

  • any major dude

    Anything to add to productive enterprise in the state. I like minor league ball and go to 10-12 games a year. Morgantown is a little far to go but I might make a game or two. Given a choice, though, I would rather go to a Mountaineer baseball game. I have been a Reds fan my entire life, too bad they don't have a team in WV!

  • cutty77

    This is great news for WVU and Morgantown. For all you naysayers. Drive to Morgantown and see all that is happening up there.Minor league Baseball is very Hot all over the country,because of cost. Be Happy everybody.

  • wv4evah

    This is a great development for north-central WVa. At last: an athletic endeavor that involves someone other than the University or children.

  • Dave. Just Dave

    The Morgantown Meth Men

    :D

  • dave

    Good news...

  • Frank

    I was living in Niles, OH when the Indians moved their short season team there and I belive they are one of the 8 teams drawing over 3000 a game, in a market much more depressed than here. We will see a lot of PA plated at the game. Personally I would rather watch minor league ball because it is less expensive and the kids are still playing for thelove of the game and not for the money.

  • hilarious

    This is an absolute joke. People in the community will flock to this fad for a few years to see someone onther than the mountaineers lose...then, like any other new venture in Morgantown, people will complain about how hard it is to get there and stop going....game attendance will be well under 500 come 2018.

    • Not from South WV

      ^^A bitter southern WV person spotted^^

  • Joe

    I submit the Morgantown Couch Torchers.

  • TheWVUHedgehog

    I submit "Morgantown Black Diamonds" as the name for the new team.

  • knows

    i wish them the best of luck but no way in hell are the even gonna reach a 750 average attendance

  • MK

    Charleston is the Pirates' "High" Class A team? What's next, will the Tampa Bay Rays call up players from Triple A Princeton? The Bradenton Marauders in the Florida State League are the Pirates' "High" Class A team.

    • Chris

      Its amazing and sad how many negative people we have as fans in WV.. This is actually a good thing and those of you that do not like baseball then that is fine and your opinion.. But baseball has always been a big thing in this state and attendance should be fairly good for this team. Its going to be fun to see some of the up and coming talent.. But to bash it and to make fun of it, is just sad.

      • Not from South WV

        All the bitterness is coming from the southern part of the state. If it doesn't happen in there beloved Charleston area. They get all bitter. The northern part of the state is booming while the southern part is declining as always.

      • Markd95

        Well put Chris. Sad that people need to be so negative. "Hilarious" - you're not
        and "knows"-you don't. This is a good thing for Morgantown and the people of the area.

      • WVDean82

        I agree Chris. My family attends many West Virginia Power games and even West Virginia Miners games (the Prospect League team in Beckley). It's entertaining and great fun. I'm happy for Morgantown and I think it will be a wonderful addition to the community.