The West Coast League has only been around since 2005, but has quickly gained the reputation of being one of the top collegiate summer leagues on the West Coast. From current Major Leaguers like Tommy Hanson and Jacoby Ellsbury to college stars like Alex Keudell, Jimmie Sherfy and Jace Fry, the WCL is where a lot of talented players got their start. Soon, baseball fans in Medford will get a chance to see future stars first hand.
West Coast League President Ken Wilson announced Wednesday that Medford will the site for a new WCL franchise beginning as soon as the 2013 season. Medford will be the 11th franchise in the league, joining current teams in Klamath Falls, Bend and Corvallis.
“‘As you can imagine, there’s been a number of different leagues that have come through here, wanting to put a team in Medford, but this is the first time that they walked their talk. They’ve done what they said they were going to do and it wasn’t just a bunch of hype,” said Gary Miller, the president of the Medford Youth Baseball Society.
“The idea that there will be a day when three or four thousand people will come in here to see baseball and meet and greet friends, that’s pretty exciting to me,” Wilson said.
The biggest challenge for the Medford franchise will be expandingHarry & David Field. It can currently seat about 650 people, but average attendance for WCL games is more than 1,100, with the top team averaging more than 1800 fans per night. CSH International, the company that will own the yet to be named team will match contributions from the community up to $250,000 to expand seating and parking.