Here’s some potentially good news for the State College Spikes.
The franchise may have found a way to still exist and be able to showcase perhaps a better, more interesting brand of baseball.
At this point, all indications are that the Spikes will cease to exist as a short-season affiliate, since that level will be going away in Major League Baseball’s plan to cut down to 120 teams.
The Spikes would like to be on the list of 120 full-season affiliates, but that seems unlikely, as well, for now.
However, MLB has proposed a plan that could work out well for the Spikes going forward, if everything falls into place.
The proposal, as detailed in a story this morning by Baseball America, would have New York-Penn League teams become part of a summer wooden bat league that would feature many of the best draft-eligible players in the country.
It would be amateur baseball. But it would be a very good brand of amateur baseball that, in all honesty, could provide more entertainment than the Spikes could offer as a short-season affiliate.
The main difference would be that the teams the Spikes and their opponents would field would be stocked with some of the best amateur players in the country — rising college seniors putting their talents on display before the draft later in the summer.
From what I know about what short-season baseball has always been, compared to what this possibility could look like, it stands to reason that the Spikes will be able to offer a better product, with more high-quality players.
The player pool breakdown, from the Baseball America story:
The new league would be another potential addition to a very crowded summer wood- bat circuit. Under the proposal, MLB would try to route rising freshmen and sophomores to the Appalachian League. Rising juniors would be encouraged to head to the existing Cape Cod League and the NYPL would be the top destination for draft- eligible rising seniors.
This new league would start around late May and lead up to the draft. One key would be getting in enough games to make it worthwhile for fan bases in various cities, such as State College.