CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A resolution to support the continuation of minor league baseball in West Virginia circled the bases in the House of Delegates.
As representatives of the West Virginia Power baseball organization observed from the balcony, the resolution passed the House of Delegates, 98-0 with two absences.
Adopted-HR 14- Urging Major League Baseball to rescind the ill-advised proposal that threatens the future of professional baseball in West Virginia https://t.co/7qdxIr5kfB
— WV House (@wvhouse) February 21, 2020
“As an avid baseball fan and former Little League all-star, I can’t imagine a Mountain State without baseball,” said Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, who elicited laughter when he mentioned his youthful accomplishments.
“That is our pipeline to the major leagues.”
MLB and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) have been discussing an update to its working agreement, with a proposal that would cut a quarter of the country’s minor league teams.
Included in the proposal that would lose affiliations with MLB teams are the Charleston-based West Virginia Power (South Atlantic League), Bluefield Blue Jays (Appalachian League) and the Princeton Rays (Appalachian League).
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has said the cuts are because of poor team facilities, traveling because of relocation, poor pay for players and the retainment of players who likely will not play in MLB.
Delegate Eric Porterfield, R-Mercer, said he is a baseball fan who regularly listens to games on satellite radio. He said minor league games in Princeton and Bluefield bring joy to citizens.
“We have two minor league baseball teams on both sides of our county, Princeton and Bluefield,” he said. “This brings a lot of enjoyment to our constituents and has a whole lot of good things.”
That was a popular sentiment.
The House floor session had a short delay while everyone who wanted to be named on the resolution could be added.
Delegate Ed Evans, D-McDowell, said Boy Scouts who have come to West Virginia to participate in the Jamboree, have enjoyed side trips to minor league baseball games.
“We truly would like to do everything we can to maintain baseball in southern West Virginia.