Geneva, N.Y. – A new era of baseball is set to begin at the historic McDonough Park.
The Geneva Red Wings have announced that the team will begin play in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL), starting in the upcoming 2016 season.
Since its inaugural season in 2011, the PGCBL has evolved into upstate New York’s premier summer collegiate baseball league, and is quickly rising among the ranks of the most competitive summer wood-bat leagues in the nation. The league is affiliated with Perfect Game USA, the largest independent scouting service in the United States.
“Baseball in Geneva is a strong passion of mine and the city has a rich tradition long before the Red Wings,” said Dave Herbst, who founded the team in 2003. “We are looking forward to maintaining that integrity and building off of that rich history moving forward into the PGCBL.”
“We’re very excited to welcome the Geneva Red Wings into the PGCBL,” said league president Jeff Kunion. “Geneva has a great stadium and baseball tradition, and it’s going to create some great geographic rivalries within the league.”
The City of Geneva and McDonough Park bring a storied history to the PGCBL. The ballpark first opened in 1958, and was home to minor league teams in the New York-Penn League (NYPL) until 1993. During those years, the team was affiliated with Cincinnati, Washington, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and lastly, the Chicago Cubs. Since then, McDonough Park has hosted summer collegiate baseball. Herbst, a scout for the Texas Rangers for over 15 years, founded the Red Wings in 2003.
“McDonough Park is historic, there’s no doubt about that,” Herbst said. “We’re proud of the history associated with the ballpark. Everybody is well aware that Hall of Famer Tony Perez and Pete Rose came through here.”
By joining the PGCBL, the Red Wings will reignite the former NYPL rivalry with Newark. Named after the former minor league Co-Pilots – affiliates of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1970s – the Newark Pilots are charter members of the PGCBL, having won the league title in 2011.
“Recreating that geographic rivalry will be great,” Herbst said. “The two cities are about 15 miles apart from one another. We’re going to get fans traveling back-and-forth between McDonough Park and Colburn Park. That’s very exciting for baseball in the Finger Lakes.”
Fans who attend a Red Wings game in 2016 will be welcomed to a renovated McDonough Park. The classic ballpark will feature a completely resurfaced playing field, a retouched scoreboard, a new sound system and new stadium signage. In addition, the concession stand will offer an expanded menu of ballpark favorites sure to satisfy all tastebuds, and a souvenir stand will offer fans the latest Red Wings apparel and merchandise.
“We are making it a point to upgrade McDonough Park so that it is a fan friendly, comfortable and clean environment,” Herbst said. “You’re going to notice that when you come to a Red Wings game this summer.”
Teams in the PGCBL draw talent from some of the best colleges and universities across the country, including some of the most competitive programs at the Division I level. In 2015, the PGCBL featured players from Division I schools such as Auburn, Buffalo, Connecticut, Cornell, Florida State, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Rice and Virginia – the reigning NCAA Division I World Series Champions.
Like teams in the PGCBL, the Red Wings have seen several alumni join the ranks of professional baseball. Since 2011, over 140 former PGCBL players have been drafted by MLB clubs. Former Red Wings who have been drafted include Tommy Bergjans, selected in the eighth round by the Dodgers in 2015, and Grant Heyman, an eighth-round pick by Arizona in 2014.
The Geneva Red Wings will play a 50-game schedule in the 2016 PGCBL season, beginning in early June. In the last two seasons combined, over 400,000 fans have attended a PGCBL game, fostered by a family-friendly environment that features contests, giveaways, promotions and postgame fireworks.
To learn more about the PGCBL, visit the league’s website at www.pgcbl.com. For more information on Red Wings tickets, contact Bill Kohberger at 607-739-4399 or at [email protected]. Fans can also like team on Facebook and follow @GenevaRedWings on Instagram and Twitter for the latest information.