Voyagers will remain in Great Falls and anticipate 2021 season

The Great Falls Voyagers said Nov. 30 that professional baseball will remain in Great Falls with the formation of a new Major League Baseball partner league.

The Voyagers will join seven other teams in the Pioneer League for a 92 game season, beginning in late spring and concluding in early September, according to a release from the Voyagers.

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“With the assurance that professional baseball will remain in Great Falls, the community can anticipate a 2021 season (pending COVID-19 restrictions) and the return of all the family fun including fireworks, non-profit fundraising nights and countless giveaways and community activities. The new league will also give fans more opportunities to see the Voyagers with 46 home games compared to the 38 home games in the previous league’s format,” according to a Voyagers release.

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According to MLB, the Pioneer League has been designated a “partner league” and beginning in 2021 will transition from affiliated status to an independent professional MLB Partner League that will include eight members: the Billings Mustangs, the Grand Junction Rockies, the Great Falls Voyagers, the Idaho Falls Chukars, the Missoula Paddleheads, the Ogden Raptors, the Northern Colorado Owlz and the Rocky Mountain Vibes.

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MLB will provide initial funding for the league’s operating expenses and install scouting technology in partner ballparks, according to a release from MLB, and a procedure for player transfers to MLB clubs and they’ll explore joint marketing, ticketing and fan engagement opportunities.

This follows the September announcement of the Appalachian League’s evolution into the premier college wood bat league for the nation’s top rising freshmen and sophomores, as well as the Nov. 30 unveiling of the new MLB Draft League in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Ohio.

“Over the past year, we have worked closely with Pioneer League owners and elected officials to ensure the continued success of baseball in the Mountain West. We’re excited to support this new initiative and look forward to Pioneer League baseball returning in 2021,” Morgan Sword, MLB’s executive vice president, said in a release.