Pioneer, Northwest leagues to hold all-star game

2014-08-26T13:40:00Z 2014-08-28T06:53:13Z Pioneer, Northwest leagues to hold all-star gameBy MIKE SCHERTING The Billings Gazette

Billings Mustangs general manager Gary Roller said a game featuring all-stars from the Pioneer League against all-stars from the Northwest League will be a “showcase event.”

The two leagues announced plans Tuesday for such a game next summer in Spokane, Wash. Like the Pioneer League, the Northwest League is an eight-team short-season circuit.

“I think it’s awesome,” Roller said. “When the concept first came up, I was as excited as anybody. I just thought the prospect for the players and the fans, to be able to see players from these two leagues on the same field at the same time, would be awesome.”

Some of the logistics of the game need to be worked out: How long with the all-star break be? Who pays for the players’ travel? If the game is a success and continues beyond 2015, will all cities in the leagues be able to host such a game?

But the main hurdle, approval from Minor League Baseball and the clubs who operate teams in both leagues, has been cleared. Now, it’s a matter of settling the details.

“I think there are going to be some challenges, logistically, to hold the event and put it on,” Roller said. “But there are so many good people working on this, it’s going to come off and it’s going to come off fine.”

The first PBL-NWL All-Star Game is scheduled for Aug. 4, 2015, at Avista Stadium, home to the Spokane Indians.

The Pioneer League includes Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Helena, Grand Junction Colo., Idaho Falls, Idaho Falls, Ogden, Utah, and Orem, Utah. The Northwest League has Washington teams in Spokane, Everett, Tri-City; Vancouver, British Columbia; Boise; and Oregon teams Eugene, Hillsboro and Salem-Keizer.

Fourteen 14 Major League franchises will be represented — Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and Toronto Blue Jays.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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