MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Jamestown officials will have to scramble if they are going to keep minor league baseball as a tenant for Russell E. Diethrick Park next season.
The Charlestown Gazette, a newspaper in Charlestown, W.Va., is reporting the Jamestown Jammers are leaving Jamestown. The Gazette's source for the news is Oliver Luck, West Virginia University athletic director. The Inter-Mountain, an Ogden News Inc.-owned paper based in Elkins, W.Va., also quotes Luck as saying the Jammers would be the tenant for a stadium in Morgantown, W.Va., being built now.
The decision shouldn't come as a surprise. The Jammers were linked to the Morgantown stadium before construction even began. West Virginia media outlets were reporting the Jammers' as a likely tenant for the Morgantown Stadium, though Ben Hayes, New York-Penn League president, called the rumors false.
The Jamestown Jammers’ Erik Lunde fields a ground ball during a New York-Penn League game earlier this season. The Jammers are reportedly on the move to West Virginia.
A news conference to officially announce the move is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday at the West Virginia Coliseum in Morgantown. The Gazette reports the Jammers' ownership group was notified on Friday.
"We're very excited about having a professional sports franchise in north-central West Virginia," Luck is quoted as saying in the Gazette. "It's another example of how baseball is catching on in the state."
The Jammers are owned by Bob Rich Jr., owner of Rich Products Corp., which also owns the Buffalo Bisons and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, a Class AA affiliate of the Blue Jays. The Jammers' two-year player development deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates expires at the end of this season, though Rich still has one year left on a stadium lease with the city.
The move also comes after several area nonprofit officials worked with the Jammers to boost attendance, which has sagged in recent years, by reaching out to the Warren, Pa. area.
Calls to Matt Drayer, Jammers' general manager, and Mayor Sam Teresi were not returned Saturday night.