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Morgantown potential affiliate for Pirates

| Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 8:14 p.m.

UNIVERSITY PARK — If events line up the right way over the next couple of years, the Pirates could move their short-season Single-A affiliate to Morgantown, W.Va.

After joining the Big 12 Conference, West Virginia wants to build a new baseball stadium. The university would share the facility with a minor league franchise, which is the same arrangement the State College Spikes (a Pirates affiliate) have with Penn State.

Tuesday, Spikes owner Chuck Greenberg said WVU and the New York-Penn League have asked him for advice about a possible setup in Morgantown.

“There were a myriad of challenges to navigate, NCAA matters and operational issues,” Greenberg said. “I think this ballpark and the overall working relationship here demonstrates that if everybody wants it to happen, it can be done.”

Monday, the Monogalia (W.Va.) County Commission voted, 3-0, to move forward with a tax-increment financing plan for the ballpark. The West Virginia legislature is expected to vote on the plan by the end of the summer. The new stadium could be ready by 2014.

“I think it will work out very well there,” said Greenberg, who also owns the Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans. “That's a market I looked at earlier. So I definitely would encourage them to pursue it.”

The Pirates' contract with State College expires after this season, and the Spikes have the option to consider offers from other major league clubs.

The Pirates could sign on with New York-Penn League club next year with an eye toward moving the franchise to Morgantown once the new ballpark is ready.

The Pirates' Low-A affiliate, the West Virginia Power, play in Charleston.

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