Charleston officials rally to support West Virginia Power baseball team

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Charleston Mayor Amy Schuler Goodwin night donned her West Virginia Power gear Monday night to rally support for a team that some say helps rally the city's economy.

In addition, Rod Blackstone, the city's former assistant mayor who is also known as the "Toastman" at Power games, talked with city council members.

Blackstone now works for the team and played a key role in getting Power Park built. He's also the team's official heckler, sitting behind home-plate and yelling "You are Toast" at opposing players and tossing slices of bread to nearby fans.

The minor league team's future has been put into question by a recent proposal by Major League Baseball that would slash the number of minor league teams by 25 percent.

Blackstone told council members the team infused nearly $3 million into local economy, provides 140 full- and part-time jobs and brings traffic and revenue into local businesses. It also has helped raise more than $200,000 for local nonprofit groups.

City leaders also issued a proclamation supporting the team.

"This is an important because this is the demonstration of support that this community is making in support of minor league baseball and the West Virginia Power in our community," Blackstone said. "This sends a very powerful message throughout the state of West Virginia, and we will be echoing this message beyond the city of Charleston."