WALLA WALLA, Wash. – By November 2009 the season’s major league baseball World Series champ will have been crowned and the sport will have begun a hibernation in the minds of many baseball fans.
But here in Walla Walla, baseball will be front and center, following the announcement that a new West Coast League summer baseball team is being formed and will begin play at Borleske Stadium in June 2010.
Whitman is connected to this new venture on several levels. The college co-owns Borleske with the Walla Walla School District and the City of Walla Walla, and the investment group for the expansion franchise includes John Stanton ’77, Whitman alumnus and former chair of the college’s Board of Trustees.
“Borleske has a proud tradition as a public/private partnership that provides sports and recreation facilities for the benefit of the entire community,” said Peter Harvey, Whitman CFO and manger of the Borleske Association. “This is exciting for both the college and Walla Walla in a number of ways, from job and tourism opportunities to baseball fans being able to enjoy the sport locally. The Whitman baseball team and our fans will benefit from the enhancements to the Borleske complex, which will improve the venue for both players and spectators.”
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Pacific Baseball Ventures, LLC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2009
JOHN STANTON, JEFF CIRILLO AMONG GROUP TO BRING SUMMER BASEBALL BACK TO WALLA WALLA
Group awarded an expansion franchise to compete in the West Coast League
Walla Walla, Washington (October 1, 2009) – After nearly 30 years, summer baseball in picturesque Walla Walla will be back at Borleske Stadium in 2010.
Pacific Baseball Ventures, LLC (PBV), a group of investors with strong ties to the Walla Walla community, announces today that they have been granted an expansion franchise in the West Coast League (WCL). The team will begin administrative operations in Walla Walla in November of 2009, and will play a full WCL schedule starting in June 2010. They will play home games at historic Borleske Stadium, bringing minor-league style baseball back to the park for the first time since 1983, when it last hosted the likes of Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith and Tony Gwynn.
The club is welcoming community feedback in preparation for the official team name and colors. Starting October 7, fans can go to www.wallawallabaseball.com to provide their ideas, with the chance for one local family to win season tickets for 2010. The official team name, brand, website, ticket prices, and leadership staff will be announced at a date to be determined in the fall.
PBV is led by wireless communications pioneers John Stanton and Theresa Gillespie. Partners of the group include former Major League Baseball All-Star Jeff Cirillo, former Microsoft executive Greg Shaw, Peter Van Oppen and Mikal Thomsen. Both Van Oppen and Thomsen are partners in the investment firm Trilogy Partnership of Bellevue, WA.
In addition to playing their home games at Borleske, PBV is partnering with the Borleske Stadium Association, the entity that oversees management of the field, to make capital improvements to the facility that will enhance the baseball atmosphere. Improvements for 2010 will include new grandstand seats behind home plate, new dugouts, and improved fan amenities. Additional improvements will be announced in the spring of 2010.
“I remember going to Borleske as a student at Whitman College, watching future major leaguers,” said Stanton, the managing director of PBV and a Whitman graduate. “I can’t wait to see who the next big league prospect to play there will be. We look forward to fielding a competitive and aggressive ball club, offering unique and fun promotions, and making Borleske an exciting place to once again bring your family.”
“We are excited to see minor league-style baseball returning to Walla Walla and to have a terrific ownership group with ties to the local community,” said WCL president Ken Wilson. “Many in southeast Washington and northern Oregon remember the likes of Smith and Gwynn, and we look forward to creating new memories.”
About the West Coast League
The West Coast League is quickly developing into one of the best collegiate wood-bat leagues in the country, as the nation’s top collegiate baseball players are drawn to the beauty and strong communities of the Pacific Northwest. Collegiate wood-bat leagues allow college players develop their skills in professional settings and stadiums without sacrificing their college athletic eligibility. Players such as Jacoby Ellsbury (centerfielder for the 2007 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox) and Jeff Francis (pitcher for the 2007 National League Champion Colorado Rockies) began their careers in the West Coast League. For more information, please visit www.westcoastleague.com.
About Pacific Baseball Ventures, LLC
Pacific Baseball Ventures, LLC is a group of civic-minded individuals with strong ties to the Walla Walla region and to the game of baseball. PBV will strive to provide their fans, sponsors, business partners, and investors with the very best in competitive baseball and entertainment, including atmosphere, comfort, food & beverage, safety, competition, fun and value.
West Coast League
Pacific Baseball Ventures