The intent of the news conference in the Jerry West Lounge Tuesday morning was to push the base-runner deeper into scoring position so the winning run can be driven in here soon.
The TIF district to fund construction for a new WVU baseball stadium is past the Senate and in the House Judiciary Committee with a vote waiting there, maybe this week, before it goes to the full House. From there, it has to be approved by Earl Ray Tomblin and then WVU’s Board of Governors.
I do wonder why this was necessary if things were so certain to end the way they all wanted it to end. But I’m told it’s got a very good chance to get thumbs up everywhere and that there could be a minor-league team, probably from Jamestown, N.Y., playing home games in Granville next summer.
A lot has to happen, though, and the particulars of the stadium remain unknown. There are plans. You won’t find someone involved in this process who doesn’t have a list of specs and features both desired and required. Until the thing gets passed and all the sides sit down with a criteria developer to put together a plan, no one knows how much it it will cost.
It could look like this:
The bond capacity for the TIF plan is $16 million. Construction could cost $18 million and, let’s be honest, even more. If so, WVU and the New York Penn League will have to find a way to handle the rest.
Nevertheless, people are pumped to play ball …
“Morgantown’s population, demographics and corporate community assets make it one of the
best small cities in America to call home. The addition of a New York-Penn League club will give
Morgantown yet another resource to enhance the quality of life of its citizens.
“We look forward to working with the city, county and West Virginia University in bringing
Minor League Baseball to the region so that thousands of fans can experience the affordable,
family entertainment that our clubs have provided annually for more than 41 million people for
the last eight years.”
Pat O’Conner, President & CEO of Minor League Baseball
“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.
“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.”
Ben Hayes, President New York – Penn League
“West Virginia University is very excited about the interest that the NY Penn League has in the
proposed baseball park at University Town Centre. The legislation authorizing the ballpark and
a new interchange along I-79, which was authored by Senator Bob Beach, is moving through the
West Virginia Legislature and both college and minor league baseball fans are hoping that we
will soon be able to celebrate its approval and hear the three best words in the English
language-’let’s play ball.”
Oliver Luck, Director of Athletics, WVU
“If you look at college baseball in the last 20 years, every time a program has built a facility like
this the program has made an immediate jump. There are so many advantages across the board
from a community standpoint, from our team and all the way down to youth baseball.
“This is probably the single biggest baseball event to happen in Morgantown baseball history.
From talking to people, I don’t know if anything of this magnitude has ever affected the
Morgantown baseball community like this stadium will.”
Randy Mazey, Baseball Coach, WVU
“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.
“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.”
Jason Dambach, Senior Vice President & General Manager, State College Spikes