MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Morgantown will be getting a minor-league baseball team.
The Class A New York-Penn League announced Tuesday it plans to relocate an undisclosed franchise to Morgantown in 2015. The league plays a 76-game season from mid-June through early September.
League president Ben Hayes said that "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.''
Hayes said the unnamed Morgantown team would share a new venue with the West Virginia University baseball team.
Monongalia County wants to levy a special tax to raise $16 million for a yet-to-be-built ballpark. An additional $12 million would improve infrastructure around the site and a nearby shopping center in Morgantown. The county first must receive permission from the state Legislature. A bill was passed by the state Senate this month and is now before the House Judiciary Committee.
"Both college and minor league baseball fans are hoping that we will soon be able to celebrate [the bill's] approval and hear the three best words in the English language - 'Let's play ball,' '' said WVU athletic director Oliver Luck.
The yet-to-be-built ballpark will be located in the University Town Centre development, and will overlook Morgantown and West Virginia University from the bluff above Monongahela River. Developers have said the ballpark could be completed by next February. Luck has said the stadium also could also host youth baseball events and concerts.
It would be the fourth minor-league baseball franchise in the state. The Class A South Atlantic League has a team in Charleston, and the rookie Appalachian League has teams in Bluefield and Princeton.