This is opening day for the State College Spikes, in their first season as a member of the new MLB Draft League. The Spikes will host Williamsport tonight at 6:35 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
The MLB Draft League is made up of advanced college players looking to showcase their skills in hopes of being selected in the draft in July. The Spikes debuted in 2006 and were affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates at different points through 2020, but they now are part of a new era of minor league baseball.
MLB did away with short-season and rookie leagues in cutting down to 120 teams, but the Spikes were able to find a home as part of the MLB Draft League.
“It’s been more than 630 days since we’ve had Spikes fans through the gate. … We cannot wait to see everybody again,” Spikes general manager Scott Walker said. “We’re off to the races.”
Walker said the Spikes were “surprised, to say the least” to not be part of the 120 teams still in affiliated ball. Still, the MLB Draft League, he noted, is “a great landing spot for us.”
“We just wanted to make sure we still had a seat at the table,” Walker said. “We just wanted to make sure we still had good, quality baseball to bring to Happy Valley.”
Penn State basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry will throw out a first pitch prior to tonight’s game.
The Spikes roster can be seen below. The team is managed by former big leaguer Delwyn Young. Note that the pitching coach is Shane Youman, a former Altoona Curve and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher. Youman set the Curve’s single-season ERA record when he posted a 1.51 figure in 2006.
You can hear the entire interview with GM Scott Walker below, from his appearance on “Sports Central with Cory Giger” on WRTA in Altoona.