MISSOULA -- Having yet to play a game under their new moniker, the Missoula PaddleHeads announced another step in the organization's baseball history.
The PaddleHeads, formerly the Missoula Osprey, have agreed to be a part of a Major League Baseball Partner League, which was jointly announced with the Pioneer League on Monday. At this time, the league will consist of the former eight Pioneer League teams, although further expansion is possible. The season will also be extended from the league’s former format to a 92-game schedule that begins in mid-May and concludes in early September. This will mean that the PaddleHeads will have 46 home games, eight more than the previous schedule format.
"We are very pleased that professional baseball is alive and well in western Montana. The decision to extend the decades-long relationship between MLB and the Pioneer League is not just great news for our communities, but also for the players and the game of baseball. Through this partnership, we see ourselves contributing to player development in more substantial ways, while also developing baseball fans for life,” Peter Davis and Susan Crampton Davis, Co-Chairs of the PaddleHeads, said in a media release
The Pioneer League will operate as a Professional Baseball Independent League. As a result, the PaddleHeads and other Pioneer League franchises can acquire players from three pools. They are undrafted players, former professional baseball players who have been released from a Major League club, or affiliated players who are under contract with a Major League team. Each franchise can decide how and which direction they will go in terms of player acquisition and development.
“We are excited to welcome the players back to Missoula this spring,” said PaddleHeads Vice President Matt Ellis. “This agreement with Major League Baseball will give future generations of Missoula fans the continued opportunity to enjoy professional baseball and affordable family entertainment that they’ve come to know and love. We are already hard at work to make the newly rebranded PaddleHeads inaugural season the best yet.”
Pending COVID-19 restrictions, the Missoula PaddleHeads are committed to creating a socially distanced and safe environment for the 2021 season. Fans should expect not just baseball, but the return of movies, trivia, and other great events that our fans enjoyed during the summer in 2021.