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Pulaski GM Betsy Haugh optimistic about baseball’s future at Calfee Park despite Appy League changes

All 10 Appalachian League teams will officially join the Prospect Development Pipeline established by MLB and USA Baseball.
Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 7:18 PM EDT
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PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ) - For baseball fans in Pulaski and Danville, the minor leagues, as you know it, are outta' here.

“It’ll be a new era of baseball in Pulaski, but it allows us to build on the great tradition that we have and keep Calfee Park as one of the central hubs of the town, as it has been since 1935,” said Betsy Haugh.

Haugh, the general manager of the now-former Pulaski Yankees, is excited about the changes coming next summer.

All 10 Appalachian League teams will officially join the Prospect Development Pipeline established by MLB and USA Baseball.

It’s a move that was somewhat expected in Danville but more of a surprise for Pulaski, which was the only Appalachian League team not on baseball’s initial contraction list.

“We were included on that list of 120 affiliated teams but, since then, the world has changed. A lot has changed, so if you were to ask me to pinpoint a specific moment or a specific reason why our status has changed, I don’t know that I could for you,” said Haugh.

Gone will be the Yankees and Braves, as all 10 clubs work to establish new names and logos ahead of next summer’s 54-game season.

Haugh sees it as a chance to establish a new team identity she hopes will resonate both locally and around the nation.

“Ever since the ballpark has been there, since 1935, the majority of that time, the team that we had has shared the name of their parent club, and those have all been strong brands that we’ve been glad to be partnered with," she said. "But this is an opportunity for us to really own something unique, own something that is ours and that we’ve put a lot of time into building and that we really hope and expect the fan base to rally around.”

The quality of play likely won’t take a huge hit, with the league featuring the nation’s top rising college freshmen and sophomores, while the lack of affiliation will keep rosters consistent throughout the season.

And while this new era will usher in plenty of changes, Haugh says the best part is that baseball in Pulaski is here to stay.

“This partnership with Major League Baseball and with USA Baseball is extremely exciting to think about the level of talent we’ll get from college players across the country that join us each summer beginning next year," she said. "College players, college coaches, just the talent we’re going to have, like we’ve had in the past, is still going to be phenomenal. It’s going to be exciting baseball to watch, and we really hope our fans will rally around this new Pulaski team.”

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