2021 APPALACHIAN LEAGUE TO BE FEATURED IN NEW MLB NETWORK SPECIAL
Preview program to debut this Saturday, April 10, at 12 p.m. ET/11 a.m. CT
The Appalachian League today announced MLB Network will air an Appalachian League Special this Saturday, April 10, at 12 p.m. ET/11 a.m. CT. Co-hosted from Studio 21 by MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger and Harold Reynolds, the new 30-minute program will preview the 10-team collegiate summer league with analysis and special guests, including Hall of Famer and Appalachian League alumnus Cal Ripken Jr.
Select coaches and players who will participate in this year’s league will be detailed throughout the program.
In addition to Ripken Jr., former Cy Young Award winner, three-time MLB All-Star, and current manager for the Burlington Sock Puppets Jack McDowell, and Georgetown Baseball Head Coach and Appalachian League Steering Committee member Edwin Thompson, will join the program.
To preview the special, Amsinger says, “All you have to do is take a look at the famous baseball players who have played in the Appalachian League to see why this league is so important. It's rich in history and gives young talent their first taste of big league life. You’ll hear from a Hall of Famer and a Cy Young Award winner on this program and they will add even more credibility to this special league with their unforgettable stories.”
MLB and USA Baseball announced the new format for the Appalachian League in September 2020, transitioning from an advanced rookie league in Minor League Baseball to a summer collegiate league as part of the Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP). The PDP is a collaborative effort between MLB and USA Baseball to establish a player development pipeline leading to the MLB Draft for amateur baseball players in the United States.
Appalachian League participants will receive extensive visibility to MLB Club and USA Baseball national team scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology. In addition to preparing them for careers as professional athletes, the Appalachian League also serves as an identification and development process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and other future national teams.
About the Appalachian League
The Appalachian League is a summer collegiate baseball league that is part of the Prospect Development Pipeline, the collaborative effort between Major League Baseball (MLB) and USA Baseball to establish a player development pipeline leading to the MLB Draft for amateur baseball players in the United States, and will also be an integral part of the identification and development process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and other future national teams. The League is comprised of 10 Clubs deep in the heart of the Appalachia Region of the United States: the Bluefield Ridge Runners (Bluefield, W. Va.), Bristol State Liners (Bristol, Va.), Burlington Sock Puppets (Burlington, N.C.), Danville OtterBots (Danville, Va.), Elizabethton River Riders (Elizabethton, Tenn.), Greeneville Flyboys (Greeneville, Tenn.), Johnson City Doughboys (Johnson City, Tenn.), Kingsport Axmen (Kingsport, Tenn.), Princeton WhistlePigs (Princeton, W. Va.), and the Pulaski River Turtles (Pulaski, Va.).