How MLB's Decision To Eliminate Dozens Of Minor League Teams Is Affecting Communities
With with dozens dozens of of minor minor league league teams. teams. Those Those communities communities were were stunned stunned in in cities cities big big and and small. small. These These teams teams are are as as much much a a cultural cultural identity identity as as they they are are a a fun fun and and inexpensive inexpensive family family outing. outing. Dave Dave Mystics Mystics of of West West Virginia Virginia Public Public Broadcasting Broadcasting takes takes a a look look at at one one team team left stranded by the MLB reorganization. On most summer nights, Rod Blackstone can be found behind home plate at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, West Virginia, riling up the crowd and tossing pieces of toast into the stands after the opposing team's batter, strike out. Since the early nineties. He's been coming to games and is known simply as the toast Man. Now, Charleston's team may be toast. MLB through the West Virginia power a curveball when it announced it was not one of the teams that would be part of the 120 team Minor league lineup next season. Three other squads from West Virginia were also thrown out. Of the 42 teams that will lose M O B affiliation 18 or in the Appalachian region. Blackstone a. K a. The toast man used to work in politics but now works for the power. He says the contraction is a disservice to communities like Charleston, which is hosted a minor league team for most seasons dating back to 1910. It's harder to swallow. And when you look at how there is now a large, gaping hole In this region of the country. That has been expelled from the major league minor league system. When Major League Baseball announced the reorganization, officials said one of the aims was to cut down on travel times between games and also ensure the facilities are up to date. Elster still hasn't sunk in for many people. Charleston's mayor Amy Goodwin, says catching games Appalachian Power Park has always been a go to for families. My kids grew up in that stadium. My kids know that that is something fun for them to Diogo. What? Whether you're a baseball fan or player or not, Goodwin says. The community has long rallied around the team in the ballpark, and vice versa. Not only the trolls have along Andre, really robust history of baseball, But this stadium and this place Great so much happiness. Local officials are still sorting out with the economic fallout will be Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Tim Brady says it's not just those who worked at the stadium who will be affected. It's the hotels were team stay and the restaurants and bars frequented by fans in the surrounding area. So one small change to a local economy like this, which is really a living organism effects. Much. Broader than just right there within the stadium, the team commission the Visitors bureau to conduct an economic impact study a year ago, it found the power brings in more than $3 million each year in Charleston, The ballpark wasn't built in a suburb or often, interstate. Ready, says it was designed to rejuvenate part of downtown. But in Charleston, a concerted effort was made to build the ballpark in the warehouse district to help spur development over there, and you've seen that you've seen bars and restaurants. And high rise apartment buildings spring up around the ballpark. While the owners of the West Virginia Power promised baseball will be back next season. It's unknown. What league will be a part of It's almost guaranteed, though not to be the attraction that has been at least not without a major league affiliate for NPR news. I'm Dave message.