UNIVERSITY PARK - If you were wondering about all the rumors floating around State College and Happy Valley about the future of minor league baseball at Medlar Field being affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, forget them.
Prior to Friday's game with Jamestown, the announcement of the extension of the agreement between the Pirates and Spikes ownership through the 2012 season was made official.
"We are very pleased to continue our affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates and we remain firm in our commitment to provide players, coaches and other player development staff with Major League-quality facilities and a healthy environment in which the young players can develop their skills as professionals both at the ballpark and in the community," Spikes general manager Jason Dambach.
As for the feeling from the major league club, it is happy to be committed to State College for at least the next two years.
"We are pleased to be able to extend what has been a highly productive partnership with the Spikes and to have our young players continue to play in front of the passionate fans of Central Pennsylvania," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said. "We are looking forward to having a long, long relationship here."
During the past 48 hours, the Pirates top two draft picks - pitchers Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie - officially began their professional baseball careers when they both signed their contracts. Allie made his way to State College Thursday, while Taillon arrived on the scene midday Friday.
Although the two high school standouts are in town, don't look for either one of them to toe the rubber anytime soon. After having been shut down for nearly two months of competitive baseball, their next action will more than likely be in instructional league ball in Bradenton, Fla., beginning in late September. Consider it an orientation period as such.
"Absolutely. Absolutely," Coonelly said. "Our pitching coach Jim Benedict is here for the next four days and with that, it was a great opportunity for us to bring these two young guys down. We want to get them acclimated to a professional setting and work with Jim Benedict as well.
"I just talked to Jamison and he looks like he is getting acclimated," he continued. "He is sitting next to the pitching coach Mike Steele and Benedict during the game and he is soaking in as much information that he can get from them. That is a good sign."