Weeks after the future of baseball in Trenton was thrown into jeopardy when the New York Yankees announced that they were ending their affiliation with the minor league Trenton Thunder, Major League Baseball has breathed new life into the team.
In late November baseball officials announced a new league, the MLB Draft League, that would include Trenton among its founding teams for the 2021 season.
The league will consist of six teams featuring top Major League Prospects and will play a 68-game schedule from May to August.
Joining the Thunder in the league will be the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, based in Niles, Ohio; the State College Spikes and Williamsport Crosscutters from Pennsylvania; the West Virginia Black Bears; and a sixth team that has not yet been named.
In a statement, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes celebrated the announcement.
“For legions of Trenton Thunder fans, the development of a new league showcasing up and coming talent will be a real thrill. Major League Baseball’s success is built on a thriving minor league system, and for 27 years Thunder supporters have visited our Capital City, warmly welcoming new players and proudly cheering others on to the big leagues,” Hughes said.
“Mercer County has made wise investments into the ballpark — benefitting both the fans and players — and the new Trenton Thunder team will be developed in a first-class facility. This news is a win for everyone — The Thunder, Mercer County, the City of Trenton, and especially baseball fans, and we look forward to a great season.”
“We are dedicated to delivering our Power of Fun brand to our fans as the Thunder Entertainment Experience they have enjoyed for the last 27 years, featuring the antics of our beloved mascot Boomer having a blast in the crowd,” Thunder general manager and COO Jeff Hurley said in a statement.
“Fans will continue to enjoy our world famous bat dogs retrieving bats, with Dash making his debut this summer. The new MLB Draft League will showcase the best prospects in baseball eligible for the MLB draft. Thunder fans will get to know these players as they begin their path as future stars of Major League Baseball.”