Erie lawmakers, officials applaud MLB decision to keep ties to SeaWolves
Team will remain in Erie as Double-A Affiliate of Detroit Tigers
ERIE, Dec. 9 – Erie lawmakers issued the following statement in response to news that the SeaWolves have made the cut as one of the minor league affiliates selected by Major League Baseball as it reorganizes and downsizes its minor league baseball system from 160 to 120 teams.
“The MLB’s announcement today was the best call Erie could have received,” state Rep. Pat Harkins said. “Our community has a unique relationship with the SeaWolves, with ties that run deep for so many of us. Years ago, my father worked with city officials to get the stadium built, and since then, it has been a place for our community to cheer together – and also a significant source of jobs and revenue.
“When we learned the MLB was considering cutting ties, we did all we could to make sure the baseball commissioners understood the depth of Erie’s commitment. I’m thrilled that our efforts to keep the team here ended in a win so we can continue rooting for our hometown heroes.”
State Rep. Bob Merski said, “Today’s news from the MLB means that our beloved SeaWolves will stay right here in Erie, where they belong. Beyond the entertainment value, the decision means Erie will continue to reap the tremendous economic benefits that go with hosting a double-A-list sports team. It also means that the state and city’s multimillion-dollar stadium investment was not in vain. The MLB’s decision made sense – Erie has the venue, the commitment and the talent to make sure our ongoing partnership remains a success.”
State Sen. Dan Laughlin said, “Since 1995 the Erie SeaWolves have been an exciting part of the fabric of our community. Today’s announcement is great news. This year especially, Erie area residents need reasons to cheer. Hopefully, by the time the baseball season starts we will be back in the stands howling for the home team.”
State Rep. Curt Sonney added, “I was glad to hear of this news. The SeaWolves are a great asset to the Erie area.”
Erie Mayor Joe Schember said, “I am thrilled that the SeaWolves are staying in Erie. Baseball has played a very important role in Erie’s history. From the Pontiacs to the Sailors to the SeaWolves, baseball has been a vibrant part our community for over 100 years. COVID-19 cut the 2020 season short, but I hope we return to a vibrant, full season in 2021.
“Over the course of a baseball season, the SeaWolves: attract over 250,000 fans to attend games and other events at UPMC Park, book 1,800 hotel rooms, and donate more than $250,000 in cash and in-kind donations to community organizations. I still remember fondly going to Erie Sailor games as a kid with my older sister. The brand new $16 million stadium renovation project will provide rich memories to Erie residents and families for many years to come. Thanks again to the SeaWolves for their commitment to Erie. I’m sure they will have a great season in 2021.”
Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said, “This is excellent news for our economy, quality of life and vitality in Erie County today and for future generations. We are thrilled that families will bond and continue to experience one of their favorite pastimes at the Erie SeaWolves games. This news comes at a time when our community needs it most.”
Late last year, in response to news that the MLB was considering cutting ties to 42 clubs in 2021, including the SeaWolves, Harkins, Merski, Bizzarro and Sonney wrote to MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. and Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem urging them to reconsider the move in light of Erie’s deep ties to the SeaWolves and the state and city’s multimillion-dollar investment to renovate UPMC Park.