Summertime and baseball go hand in glove. Luckily, Morgantown residents can enjoy the great American pastime right in their own backyard! Since its first game in June 2015, The West Virginia Black Bears minor league baseball team has provided family-friendly fun and a new connection to the community as the state’s first and only MLB Draft League team.
In their first season, the Black Bears qualified for the playoffs and won the championship. In the following years, missed playoff hopes and the pandemic cooled the team’s momentum. However, in 2022, the team was back in fighting form and took the championship. In early June, the Black Bears will begin defending their title throughout the summer baseball season.
Big-City Vibes in North Central West Virginia
Home to the West Virginia Black Bears, the Monongalia County Ballpark is carved into the rolling Appalachian hills across the Monongahela River from the West Virginia University campus. Surrounded by a variety of businesses with options for shopping, dining, and lodging, this state-of-the art park boasts a seating capacity of 3,500, including Premium Suites. With its high-definition video board and a 360-degree concourse, spectators will never miss a score and there isn’t a bad seat in the house!
Since their inaugural season, the Black Bears have been a popular attraction, drawing in fans from across the state to get a taste of big-city amenities with Morgantown’s trademark small-city warmth.
A hometown MLB draft league comes with many benefits. Among them is the Black Bears commitment to providing a family-friendly atmosphere. Attending a professional baseball game in a modern, accessible facility is good, clean fun with added perks that kids love, like foam fingers with the team’s logo and of course all the favorite game-time snacks. After every Sunday game, all kids are invited down to the field to run the bases. The team also offers a variety of promotions and events throughout the season, including post-game fireworks displays, fan giveaways, and special theme nights.
The Black Bear mascot, “Cooper the Bear,” is often seen entertaining fans throughout the ballpark. By joining Cooper’s Crew, a club for kids ages 3-10, the team’s youngest fans can enjoy special perks, including tickets to every Sunday home game, on-field access to meet Cooper, and discounts on additional tickets, official Black Bears merch, and sweet treats at the concession stand.
Community Building Through Sports
The Black Bears are known for their dedication to the community. The team works closely with local organizations to promote youth baseball and support charitable causes. They also offer educational opportunities for local students with field trips to the ballpark and classroom visits from players and coaches.
In addition to being a bridge to the community, The Black Bears have already produced several major league players, including pitcher James Marvel and infielder Brett Pope. The team’s success on the field and in the community has made it a beloved institution in West Virginia and a source of pride for Morgantown residents.
The future is bright for the West Virginia Black Bears and the surrounding community. The team’s commitment to providing an entertaining, wholesome professional baseball experience along with its dedication to serving the community makes it a model for other minor league teams across the country. If you’re in the Morgantown area during baseball season, be sure to catch a Black Bears game and get in on the fun!