The West Virginia Power wants its fans to know that it’s still alive and kicking, and the team hopes to be a part of the region now and well into the future.
How that future would look remains under discussion.
News reports surfaced last week saying that Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball are coming closer to a new agreement, one that will shave the number of minor league affiliates from 160 to 120, realign the minors and restructure the economic relationship between MLB clubs and their affiliates. In that minor league contraction, the original plan was to cut 42 teams from the current group and add independent teams from Sugar Land, Texas, and St. Paul, Minnesota. Among the 42 teams were three from West Virginia — the West Virginia Power, Bluefield Blue Jays and Princeton Rays.
The Power released an official statement cautioning fans that nothing about the plan is concrete yet, that both sides remain in talks.
“Despite these reports, the Power would like to emphasize that there has been no decision made between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball in relation to the proposed contraction of 42 teams from MiLB after the 2020 season,” the statement read. “Our team, [Charleston] Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin and her staff, Governor Jim Justice and his staff at the state and local levels, our Senators and Congressional representatives, the South Atlantic League and Minor League Baseball are working tirelessly to ensure that Power baseball remains in Charleston for the 2021 season and beyond.
“The negotiating teams are continuing their discussions,” the statement continued, “with the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial long-term agreement in the near future.”
Power owner and managing partner Tim Wilcox added that his franchise was not going to let the plan play out without doing everything he can to keep professional baseball in the city of Charleston.
“We are very thankful to have such a supportive community and fanbase in Charleston, the state of West Virginia, and beyond,” he said, “and we will continue to fight this matter for you.”
A recent Washington Post story said it wasn’t clear which clubs would be eliminated to get to 120 teams, but some short-season affiliates could elevate to full-season status and that other teams could, according to a letter from MiLB to its affiliates and obtained by the Post,”have an opportunity to continue operating with professional players in a manner involving a connection with MLB.”
There has been some discussion since news of minor league contraction leaked out last year that a “dream league” could be created, where cities with teams no longer affiliated with MLB clubs could field teams of players who went undrafted. That plan may evolve in order to ensure long-term financial viability for teams in those cities.
“When MLB and MiLB reach a decision surrounding the Professional Baseball Agreement for the 2021 season, we will provide an update via our social media channels and on our website,” the Power’s statement concluded. “Until that time, we appreciate your continued outpouring of support in this matter.”