Tag Archives: Morgan Sword

Atlantic League Adds West Virginia, Releases Schedule

The Atlantic League officially welcomed the West Virginia Power, bringing the league to eight teams.

The complete 2021 schedule has also been released.

ATLANTIC LEAGUE WELCOMES WEST VIRGINIA POWER


MLB’s First Professional Partner League at Eight Communities with Addition of Charleston, WV

(February 24, 2021, New York) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball announced today it has welcomed the West Virginia Power to the Atlantic League. The addition of the Charleston, West Virginia, club brings the league’s membership to eight teams for the 2021 Championship Season.

The West Virginia Power began in 1987 as the Charleston Wheelers and served as an affiliate of seven MLB teams while in the South Atlantic League. They played under the monikers of the Wheelers and AlleyCats before adopting the name West Virginia Power in 2005 with the opening of Appalachian Power Park, located in the east end of Charleston. The team is managed by an ownership group led by Managing Partner and CEO Andy Shea.

“We are very excited about joining the Atlantic League and bringing a significantly higher level of talent to the field,” Shea said. “Off the field, we are delighted to expand on the affordable family fun at Appalachian Power Park. The Atlantic League is the premier MLB Partner League, and we are sincerely grateful for the City of Charleston, State of West Virginia, and Major League Baseball for helping make this happen. This is a truly great day for professional baseball in Charleston.”

“We are thrilled to welcome the Power to the Atlantic League and to play a part in the baseball heritage of a community that has passionately supported baseball,” said Atlantic League President Rick White. “We are privileged to play in West Virginia’s capital city and congratulate the Power organization and all their fans. We look forward to the competitive play the Power will bring to the Atlantic League.”

“We congratulate the Power and the City of Charleston on this exciting announcement that will keep professional baseball in West Virginia,” said Morgan Sword, Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Atlantic League to grow the sport.”

With the addition of the Power and the Lexington Legends, who joined the league last week, the Atlantic League divisions will be reconfigured into a new North and South alignment. The league’s North Division will feature the Lancaster Barnstormers, Long Island Ducks, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, and York Revolution. The South Division will include the Power, Legends, and the league’s two North Carolina teams, the High Point Rockers and the Gastonia Honey Hunters, who are also playing their inaugural slate in 2021. 

“We are happy to have quickly restored our eight-team format and to have done so by attracting such successful organizations,” White added.

ATLANTIC LEAGUE ANNOUNCES 2021 CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON SCHEDULE

MLB’s First Professional Partner League Launches 120-Game Season May 27 in Circuit’s Newest Ballpark

The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball released their 2021 season schedule. The ALPB’s 23rd season of baseball will be the first of its kind, following a 2020 baseball hiatus due to COVID-19.  

The 2021 season will feature a 120-game regular season schedule, with each team hosting 60 matchups. The league’s traditional 140-game season was trimmed due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gastonia will be spotlighted in the first game of the 2021 season when the Honey Hunters open their series against the visiting Lancaster Barnstormers on Thursday, May 27, in the North Carolina community’s new FUSE ballpark. The remainder of the league’s clubs will be in action Friday, May 28, with Lexington visiting the Long Island Ducks, the High Point Rockers traveling to the York Revolution, and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs going to West Virginia, where the Power will host their first ALPB game.

  The coming season will also mark the debut of the Atlantic League’s reconfigured divisions, which now reflect a North-South alignment.

The league’s North Division features the Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers, Long Island (NY) Ducks, Southern Maryland (Waldorf) Blue Crabs, and York (PA) Revolution.

The South Division includes the West Virginia (Charleston) Power, Lexington (KY) Legends, High Point (NC) Rockers, and Gastonia (NC) Honey Hunters. 

“Any new season is an exciting time for our league,” said Atlantic League President Rick White. “But coming back after an 18-month hiatus and doing so with three great new communities may be the most exciting start of an Atlantic League Championship Season since our very first. We are thrilled to welcome the cities of Gastonia, Lexington, and Charleston.”

 For the complete 2021 Atlantic League Championship Season, go to www.AtlanticLeague.com/schedule

Major League Baseball is Changing the Landscape of Indy Ball

Earlier this year, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced partnerships with existing independent leagues. The top three indy leagues – the Atlantic League, the American Association, and the Frontier League – have entered into a partnership with the MLB for the upcoming season.

Now, the MLB is restructuring and cutting their minor leagues which will ultimately impact independent baseball even more.

The Pioneer League, the Appalachian League, and the New York Penn League, all former MLB affiliated leagues, are being repurposed for 2021.

The Pioneer League will now be an  independent professional MLB Partner League.

All eight members of the Pioneer League – the Billings Mustangs, the Grand Junction Rockies, the Great Falls Voyagers, the Idaho Falls Chukars, the Missoula Paddleheads, the Ogden Raptors, the Northern Colorado Owlz and the Rocky Mountain Vibes – will continue participating in the league and will maintain their existing team names and brands.

Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said: “Over the past year, we have worked closely with Pioneer League owners and elected officials to ensure the continued success of baseball in the Mountain West. We’re excited to support this new initiative and look forward to Pioneer League baseball returning in 2021.”

MLB.com

The Appy League and part of the New York Penn League will turn into two new wood-bat leagues that will feature top collegiate and draft eligible players from across the country.

Each of the ten teams in the Appalachian League will be rebranded to reflect the communities and towns that they represent. The league will feature top rising college freshman and sophomores during the summer.

The Appalachian League will become a part of the Prospect Development Pipeline (“PDP”), the collaborative effort between MLB and USA Baseball that establishes a player development pathway for amateur baseball players in the United States, and will be an integral part of the identification and development process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and other future national teams. Appalachian League participants will receive extensive visibility to MLB Club scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology. Players will receive instruction from former MLB players and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers as professional athletes. Plans include a 54-game regular season and an annual All-Star Game. MLB and USA Baseball will provide support for the league’s staffing, player participation and administrative functions. The parties are in communication with the NCAA to ensure athlete eligibility requirements are met.

Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said: “We are thrilled to partner with USA Baseball and the Appalachian League communities to create a one-of-a-kind summer league that will attract the nation’s top collegiate players and allow local fans to see top prospects and future big-league stars in their hometowns. This announcement continues MLB’s commitment to preserving and growing baseball in communities around the United States. The road to the big leagues now runs through Appalachia.”

Mike Gaski, President of USA Baseball, said: “USA Baseball is excited for this unique opportunity to enhance the offerings within the Prospect Development Pipeline through the creation of a premier summer collegiate baseball league. Our commitment to the continued development of amateur athletes is paramount to our mission as the national governing body for the sport in the United States and it is an honor to align ourselves with a historic baseball brand such as the Appalachian League, as well as our partners in Major League Baseball. We look forward to welcoming elite-level college athletes to the Appalachian League and identifying players who will hope to one day play for Team USA.”

Dan Moushon, the President of the Appalachian League, said: “The communities of the Appalachian League have supported baseball since our founding in 1911. We are grateful to MLB and USA Baseball for bringing this exciting opportunity to our fans and look forward to welcoming players, coaches, MLB scouts and fans into our cities next summer.”

MLB.com

Teams from the New York Penn League: the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the State College Spikes, the West Virginia Black Bears, and the Williamsport Crosscutters along with former AA team the Trenton Thunder, with talks of a sixth team, are forming the MLB Draft League.

This league will be the first of its kind that focuses exclusively on top prospects who are eligible for the MLB Draft that summer.

With the 2021 MLB Draft moved back to July and being held as part of All-Star Week, draft-eligible players will have a unique opportunity to showcase their abilities and gain exposure to MLB Clubs and fans next summer. The new format affirms MLB’s commitment to the region and assures that communities of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New Jersey will continue to host high-caliber baseball and future Major Leaguers for years to come.

Plans include a 68-game regular season with an annual All-Star Break centered around the MLB Draft. MLB Draft League participants will receive unprecedented visibility to MLB Club scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology, and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers as professional athletes. PBR will provide support for the league’s staffing, player and coach recruitment, on-field operations, and administrative functions. PBR will also use their media and technology platforms to promote the league and its players throughout the season.

Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Prep Baseball Report and the founding members of the MLB Draft League to create a one-of-a-kind league that will attract the nation’s top players who are eligible for each year’s MLB Draft and allow local fans to see top prospects and future big-league stars in their hometowns. This announcement continues MLB’s commitment to preserving and growing baseball in communities around the United States.”

Sean Duncan, President of Prep Baseball Report, said: “We are honored to work with these ownership groups and Major League Baseball to assure the future of impactful, high-level baseball to the region and continue the legacy of deep community involvement from all of these teams. With more than 150 scouts and operations personnel coast-to-coast at the high school, collegiate and junior college levels, we take great pride in our ability to identify the nation’s top amateur draft prospects, which will ultimately make the MLB Draft League the preeminent league for draft-eligible players.”

MLB.com

Currently, the 2021 season will feature four independent leagues that are partnered with the MLB as well as two college/top prospect leagues that will also be supported by major league baseball.

It should be an interesting summer full of many changes in professional baseball.