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Affiliate Renewals: Ballpark Digest Reports -- West Virginia

All five Brewer Player Development Contracts are up for renewal this year (Nashville, Huntsville, Brevard County, West Virginia and Helena), and to our knowledge, none has been extended yet.


We'll do our best (as should you, please) to keep news (and discussion) on this topic to this one thread, for all affiliates. Thanks.


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Power officials face difficult decision after season ends

Jack Bogaczyk

Charleston Daily Mail Sports Editor


Inside the foul lines at Appalachian Power Park, the West Virginia Power has 21 home games in a 30-day August span.


Outside the lines is where Charleston's Class A South Atlantic League baseball club may play the biggest game.


The Power-parent Milwaukee Brewers are hanging on in the National League wild card chase.


Four rungs lower in the system, they could be playing for more than a Southern Division title.


That's because this is the second season of a two-year Player Development contract between West Virginia Baseball LLC and the Brewers.


Club management and ownership won't talk about affiliation speculation and changes.


The National Association (i.e. Minor League Baseball) has threatened stiff fines to clubs that gab.


From inside the Power clubhouse, the word is that Milwaukee wants a renewal.


Why not?


No surprise there.


These Baby Brewers play in a nice park, where paid attendance is pushing a record 4,000 per game.


The Power is 13 games better at home than on the road this season.


However, Milwaukee's two short-season clubs aren't as successful as in the previous two years, and those are the players that would fill the Power roster in 2007 and ?08.


The plus is, the Power management knows Milwaukee is a club committed to building with prospects, not throwing big bucks at free agents.


The question is whether West Virginia Baseball will re-up with Milwaukee, or, after a Sept. 11 end to exclusivity dealings, see who's available.


If the latter happens, the Charleston club's future might be affected elsewhere in West Virginia.


The optimum situation for the Power, as far as adding to a fan base that has grown, thanks to the new yard, would be an affiliation with a regional Major League club.


It isn't going to get Cincinnati or Cleveland, which have low Class A affiliates in neighboring Dayton and Lake County, respectively.


That leaves Pittsburgh.


There is speculation the Pirates might be sold by the ontrolling ownership (25 percent), the Nutting family of Wheeling.


There's talk Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban might invest in his hometown club, as well as help purchase the NHL Penguins.


More likely is the potential the Nuttings, who own and operate Ogden Newspapers, will continue to take more control and a greater active role in running the Pirates.


Then, if managing partner Kevin McClatchy steps aside, a domino might fall that could affect the South Atlantic League.


One of the Pirates' voting shares belongs to Don Beaver, a longtime baseball man who owns the Hickory Crawdads, the Bucs' low Class A club.


If there's movement by Beaver away from the Pirates, the club's affiliation with Pittsburgh could end, too -- leaving the Pirates looking for another SAL team.


Perhaps, if the Nuttings are to run the Pirates, they might want the Mountain State's only full-season minor league club in their corner, adding to a regional affiliation base that already includes Altoona and Williamsport, Pa.


There already are deep roots for the Pirates in the Kanawha Valley, thanks to memories of the minor league heyday here with the Class AAA Charlies (1971-76).


Count the Charlies' jerseys in the stands at Power games these days ... or go to the souvenir stand, where they're still sold ... or listen to Wheeler Bob hawk them row after row many nights.


The call on whether the Power remains a Brew crew is going to belong to the club's managing owner Alan Levin and General Manager Andy Milovich.


It won't be an easy one.


The Brewers had a mediocre club here last season, the first in a new park and market.


The Power was 20 games under .500 in the SAL first half, then went 35-33 the second half.


The first half this season was a 39-30 finish thanks to a late charge, then sub-.500 ball to date this half.


That's only part of the equation.


It's about what club's low A affiliation is available in the SAL or Midwest League, what franchises the Power perceive care about building with prospects, and who gets an extension with whom before season's end.


Forget it, Yankee fans, the Steinbrenners are signed with the other SAL Charleston through 2008.


Houston recently renewed with Lexington, too.


The Cardinals, Cubs, Red Sox and Tigers aren't available, either.


In case you're wondering, the PDC's in low Class A that end in 2006 are with the Royals, Rangers, Athletics, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Devil Rays, Rockies, Dodgers, Orioles, Mets, White Sox, Pirates, Indians (fuggedabout it), Phillies, Nationals and Brewers.


Whether West Virginia joins the musical chairs depends on how August plays out on and off the field at Appalachian Power Park.

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Anyone care to speculate? Speaking simply from a gut feeling, I think West Virginia, Huntsville, and Helena will be back. As far as I know, the Timberrattlers are not up for renewal this year so the Brewers will want to stay with the Power. I think the Brewers will stick with Huntsville and Helena out of a good working relationship and loyalty. (But then again, they were with Beloit for 20+ years.)


Brevard County will be gone almost for sure. There is so much up in the air down there.


I don't know what to think about Nashville. 2 years ago, the Brewers kind of got stuck with the Sounds. However, the Sounds do have the new stadium on the horizon. Speaking selfishly, if the Brewers do switch, I'd like them to stay in the PCL so I can catch their affilaite playing in Des Moines a couple times a year.

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i would love to see the pirates and the crew trade sally league teams, as hickory is only about 75 minutes from where i libve, and 10 minutes from my brother's house...


i hope that the fsl team winds up in the carolinas because those teams have a good following

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announced on teh brewers site that we signed a 4 year extension with Nashville.


Not surprised, especially considering they won last year, may very well win again this year, and have a heck of a group of younger guys to look forward to in the next 1-2 years as well.

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Why is Brevard County seemingly out of the picture?

I don't remember exactly, but I think it was something like the Washington Nationals own Brevard County's stadium, and they get first dibs...


...or am I way off?

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I think it's looking more likely that West Virginia won't re-up with the Brewers. They've got a new stadium and great fan support, but the teams haven't done that well. That 5-25 start last year was killer and the second half this year has been disappointing. And given that there doesn't appear to be a whole lot on the rookie teams that will help them next year, I could see the Power looking elsewhere.
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New lights, clubhouse means action for Stars

Brewers expected to extend contract with Huntsville


Huntsville Times Sports Staff, markcolumn@aol.com


The Milwaukee Brewers like Huntsville. They like having their Double-A farm team in the Southern League.


They have just never liked the work environment for their employees.


That's about to be rectified. And, in turn, it appears the Brewers will soon be extending their player development contract (PDC) to remain with Huntsville through the 2008 season.


The Stars' players and on-field staff will be working out of an expanded clubhouse in 2007 and the Joe W. Davis Stadium lighting will be improved, general manager Tom Van Schaack said.


While Milwaukee officials have expressed overall satisfaction with Huntsville, privately they have acknowledged the Brewers would have looked for a new Double-A affiliate had improvements not been made.


Van Schaack said that team owner Miles Prentice is handling the negotiations with Milwaukee regarding the PDC.


"It's progressing," Van Schaack said. "I feel confident in the near future we'll re-up."


Last week, Scott Martens, the Brewers' business manager for player development and minor league operations, visited Huntsville, along with Brewers' equipment manager J.R. Rinaldi.


They met with officials from the City of Huntsville's facilities department to figure a way to redesign the clubhouse. Rinaldi was involved because he has assisted the architects for Nashville's new stadium as they design team space in that park.


Van Schaack said the Stars' clubhouse will be an addition to the current space underneath the third base grandstands and not a stand-alone building. "We need to use as much of the existing space as we can to be cost-effective, but we have to expand the main clubhouse area. It's too small and too crowded."


The city of Huntsville earmarked $1 million over the next five years for improvements to the city-owned facility when it renewed the lease last spring with Prentice and the Huntsville Stars, LLC, the team's ownership group.


The Stars organization drew up a wish-list of sorts that included clubhouse and lighting improvements. Those issues, Van Schaack said, "have moved up the priority list."


Van Schaack said that some $200,000 of the $1 million has already been spent or earmarked for other projects. Because the stadium is in its 22nd season, and is the oldest park in the Southern League, much work is needed on the infrastructure and may only barely be noticed by fans.


Van Schaack reiterated a comment from last spring, that "people may walk in and say, 'We thought you got $1 million. Where did it go?' But there are so many little things they don't notice."


Prentice and his partners, who bought the team from a consortium of local owners in October 2001, agreed to a five-year lease with the city last spring. The previous lease had expired in 2003 and little significant work was done on the park for almost two years.


The current lease has the Stars paying $10,000 annually, as well as making a $5,000 contribution to the $1 million capital improvements project. The lease payment is half that charged the previous ownership group, which also paid a percentage of tickets, concessions and other revenue.

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And to answer a recent newly-started thread on the topic, no new news from West Virginia, Brevard County or Helena. When we know something, you will, too...


What do you think the chances are that we sign a 2 year deal with WV and take a chance at getting our Low A team in ******on with the TR when the Mariners contract is up after 2008?

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I would say slim to none. The Ms and T-Rats have had that relationship for quite some time, and both sides seem to be quite happy with that relationship. Of course, things could change by the end of 2008, but I just don't see it happening (as much as I would like to see it happen).
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I would say slim to none. The Ms and T-Rats have had that relationship for quite some time, and both sides seem to be quite happy with that relationship. Of course, things could change by the end of 2008, but I just don't see it happening (as much as I would like to see it happen).


What about going back to Beloit? I'm not sure what kind of situation we were in when we left.

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The Brewers departure from Beloit was on friendly terms. IIRC, Beloit is a non-profit team, meaning they're perfectly happy with their existence as long as they break even. As long as they draw enough people to pay the bills they see no reason to upgrade their facilities.


Plus, the Brewers cited that the weather was a little warmer in the Sally league, where games in April and May weren't played in winter conditions like they often were in Beloit and the entire Midwest League. I guess I don't see them returning to any of the cities in the league.


I hope they keep the relationship with WV. I have no idea how the terms are, but I would like to see that one continue. Mass pointed out today in today's link report that the Power have been out-done this year by one team in their division, so hopefully the WV folks recognize that as well (and if they get the Helena lineup, look out).

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I would love to see another team close to your home pogo. Plus, I'm just not a big fan of the FSL. I remember hearing that it rains every afternoon in Florida at the same time of day. That alone seems to doom the games, and the humidity effects the offense as much as the dry air effects the offense in the opposite fashion in the Cal League. It would be nice to find a more even setting (I'm not sure how the Carolina League skews, but it can't be worse than the FSL).


I don't see Helena going anywhere. That team moved and changed it's name to become a Brewers affiliate again. The two A-ball teams really are the ones up in the air at this point in time.

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The Brewers departure from Beloit was on friendly terms. IIRC, Beloit is a non-profit team, meaning they're perfectly happy with their existence as long as they break even. As long as they draw enough people to pay the bills they see no reason to upgrade their facilities.


The Snappers are looking for a new stadium. The latest is off of the Avalon Rd/Hwy 11 exit in Southern Janesville, and I believe the Twins just re-upped with the Snappers. IF the Snappers get a new stadium in Janesville the Twins will be the Major League affiliate as long as Terry Ryan is GM.

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If Mark A decided he wanted the Crew's low A team in Apple-ton, it'd get done. However, I doubt it's near the top of his list.


Remember, Doug did say the Midwest League was basically a 125 game season due to the weather, so it is probable the team feels it isn't worth it.

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Brewers extend relationship with three Minor League affiliates


MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers announced today the extension of player development contracts with three of the club's minor league affiliates. The Brewers Double-A affiliate, the Huntsville Stars, signed a two-year extension running through September 30, 2008; Class-A Brevard County Manatees signed a four-year extension running through September 30, 2010 and the Brewers Rookie affiliate, the Helena Brewers, signed a two-year extension running through September 30, 2008.


"We are very excited to extend the relationship we have with these three clubs," said Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager, Doug Melvin. "Huntsville, Brevard County and Helena have all provided the critical resources and environment needed to continue developing and preparing our young players for our organization."


Huntsville has been a Brewers affiliate since the 1999 season and is a member of the Southern League. The Stars play at Joe W. Davis Stadium in Huntsville, Ala. Brevard County is currently in its second season as a Brewers affiliate and is a member of the Florida State League. The Manatees play at Space Coast Stadium in Melbourne, Fla. The Helena Brewers have been an affiliate since the 2003 season and play in the Pioneer League. Helena-which also had an affiliation with the Brewers from 1985 - 2000, plays its home games at Kindrick Field in Helena, Mont.


In July of this year, the Brewers announced an extension of its player development contract with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League through the 2010 season.

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Wow, the four-year commitment to the Florida State League is a surprise -- the Brewers must love the Space Coast Stadium facilities, and apparently the Nationals are happy with their high-A arrangement, and aren't interested in making their spring training home their high-A entry.


I believe there's still time for West Virginia -- but the fact nothing was announced today is not a good sign -- that'd be a disappointment.


Manatee GM Buck Rogers is hopeful of getting an audio deal for 2007 and beyond (hey, some affiliates do internet only -- that'd be OK), so we can hope for that.


Old friends in Huntsville and Helena -- nothing wrong with that.

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