The COVID-19 Major League Baseball season entered it’s abbreviated playoffs this week, and meanwhile the nearly 160 minor league teams are waiting and watching to see if their franchises will be continued, including our own Missoula PaddleHeads.

Vice President Matt Ellis spoke with KGVO News on Wednesday.

“Today's the expiration of our professional baseball agreement that we are currently under contract for,” said Ellis. “But the negotiations are alive and well and we expect there to be a new agreement down the road. This isn't the first time in our history that the agreements expired before the new deal was done. So I don't think it's a sign of anything bad. I think there's still a lot of hard work to be done, but both sides are talking and that's what matters.”

Ellis sees changes coming in the relationship between the major and minor leagues, but is hopeful that the relationship will continue.

“There are some changes in the industry that are going to happen and there's a negotiation on how that works,” he said. “I think the way we've operated in the past is going to be a little different, but we don't necessarily think that's going to be a bad thing. We're confident we're going to still be associated with Major League Baseball, and we'll be a professional baseball team here in Missoula for a long time.”

Ellis said the team has continued forward, even competing with other minor league teams off the baseball diamond.

“I'm really proud of our team, in fact, we just participated in a ZOOM presentation from minor league baseball as they awarded the Golden Bobblehead Awards for the top promotions in three categories, and then the overall top promotion for all baseball, and we were nominated as a finalist for the community promotion based promotion of the year with our river cleanup and Montana fly fishing festival that we did on that weekend in August.”

Ellis was upbeat about the future of the Missoula PaddleHeads.

“There's hope,” he said. “We're going to be playing professional baseball next year. That's our guarantee. Our league is strong. We're united. We're working hard to work out an arrangement with Major League Baseball, that's the best for everybody, including them, us and our community, and we're very confident that something's going to get done that we'll all be excited about…but still, there's still a lot of work to be done.”

The PaddleHeads were formerly the Missoula Osprey and affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks.