The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 6, 2010

Cumberland group targets minor-league team

FROSTBURG, Md. — A local group with dreams of bringing minor-league baseball to western Maryland got a bit of a major-league boost Saturday at Frostburg State University.

Washington Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman endorsed the efforts of Baseball4Cumberland, a group of baseball enthusiasts hopeful of landing a future minor-league team for the area.

Riggleman, a Frostburg State graduate and baseball All-American while playing for coach Bob Wells, was in town for Leadership and Homecoming weekend.

“I’ve learned about this group’s effort to bring baseball to Cumberland, and I think it would be outstanding,” he said.

“I don’t know exactly what it would take to get it done, but I think because of the excitement in western Maryland that people have for baseball, it’s something that really would be supported.

“My experience in the minor leagues ... I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“Some of the most enjoyable times in my life were spent in places like Little Rock, Shreveport and Waterbury.”

Riggleman, who played in Johns-

town’s AAABA Tournament and was a fourth-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974, reached the Triple-A level in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He was a manager for nine years in the minors and has visited many towns and teams as a minor-league instructor.

“As I traveled through the minors, it was really something to see how fans really cheer for those players and get behind them,” Riggleman said. “A minor-league team is great for a community, and it’s great for the economy of the community.

“Getting a team to come is another whole step in the process. I certainly would endorse it.”

Local business owner Kelly Moran gave a brief update on the progress of the local group, which also includes Frostburg State history professor emeritus John Wiseman, Cumberland Mayor Lee Fiedler and Howard Reynolds.

“We are a committee working very, very hard and are very dedicated to bringing baseball to the region,” she said. “We’ve just launched our website (www.Baseball4Cumberland.com), and we urge everyone to check it out.

“We will be adding pages to it in the next week, specifically pages for public comment for your suggestions and ideas.

“We’d like to know if you have ideas for the team, what the name should be, what kind of a mascot we should have,’’ she added. “Anything that comes to your mind, we want your input. We want your help.”

There is plenty still up in the air, and more questions than answers. But the ball is definitely rolling. The group hopes to build a multi-purpose sports and entertainment complex that could host not only baseball but a variety of events throughout the year.

“The next step for us is a feasibility study, and we’re planning on doing that in the next year,” Moran said. “The feasibility study will really tell us where we’re going to go from here.”

 

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