The recent news that Major League Baseball had not invited the West Virginia Power to be a part of affiliated Minor League Baseball in 2021, really wasn’t a shock, but still was a disappointment for this and every baseball fan in the capital city area.
You see, when the first news broke in 2019 that the Power might be included in this year’s Minor League setup, I just could not imagine a summer without baseball at Appalachian Power Park. I, along with a few thousand other baseball fans in the region, have come to thoroughly enjoy the games at the park.
So, after that news broke, I stayed in close contact with Power officials, trying to keep the readers of my column up to date on the situation. There always seemed to be strong optimism that there would be Power baseball, but right now the tarp is on the field and dark clouds are overhead.
As every baseball fan knows by now that the Power was one of 11 Minor League teams not to receive an invite to the party — that word coming down from Major League Baseball.
With that said, after trying their best to be included, Power officials could have just thrown in the towel and said, “Well, we tried.” I am here to let you know, that hasn’t been the case, and I recently chatted with Power General Manager Jeremy Taylor on the team’s efforts to play ball in 2021.
One thing Taylor wanted to make clear to me is that the decision doesn’t mean the Power is closing up shop. “We were afraid that people would think we were halting operations after the announcement was made, and we have gotten those type of calls, but that is certainly not the case and we are moving forward with plans to have some form of baseball in Power Park next season.”
The West Virginia Power has called Appalachian Power Park home since 2005, hosting the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in 2019.
As the situation stands now, not every Minor League team has accepted their invitation from Major League Baseball, and Taylor says that a decision is not that far away.
“Those teams have until the first of the year to commit or say no,” he said, “so we are not going to know something until probably mid-January. So it’s still a possibility because of the cost of improvements being required by Major League Baseball and some teams may not find it financially possible to be a part of the plan. I just can’t imagine that every team is going to accept their invitation, so we are still holding out hope we will be included.”
Minor League baseball has been part of the Charleston community since the early 1900s, and many a number of Hall of Famers have played in front of fans in the capital city during the early part of their careers.
During my conversation with Taylor, who grew up in Charleston, graduating from George Washington High School, I could tell the whole situation has him really frustrated.
“You can’t even speak to Major League Baseball about the situation and get answers to any of our questions. They have basically disappeared after all this happened. In fact, two weeks prior to the announcement, we couldn’t get in touch with anyone to provide us with some guidance. It just makes it really difficult to really come up with any concrete plans for us to give to our fans, when we can’t even get any answers,” he said.
I really think there is going to be some form of baseball in Power Park in 2021. Exactly what that form is going to be is still the unanswered question. All I can say is stay tuned.