By P.J. Harmer
ONEONTA _ Nearly a half-century of New York-Penn League baseball in Oneonta could end as early as Friday.
Speculation as to whether the Oneonta Tigers will stay for the 2010 season should end Friday as the NY-Penn will reveal which of its 14 teams will settle at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn., during a 1 p.m. media conference at Norwich City Hall.
"I know there's been no official announcement by the NY-Penn League," said Norwich City Manager Alan Bergren, who added that the city approved a contract Tuesday to lease the 6,000-seat stadium to a NY-Penn team. "We've been in negotiations through our city baseball authority and the council to bring a NY-Penn League team to Norwich.
"We've heard teams mentioned, but it's not official," he continued. "It'll be officially made public Friday."
NY-Penn President Ben Hayes did not return messages left Wednesday at his office in St. Petersburg, Fla. His wife, Laurie Hayes, said her husband was unavailable for comment because he was traveling but added that he will attend Friday's media conference in Norwich.
O-Tigers General Manager Andrew Weber refused to comment on the situation, continuing to cite a league-wide gag order on the move that Ben Hayes imposed earlier this month.
"I am abiding by what I've been told by the league," Weber said Wednesday at the O-Tigers' offices at Damaschke Field. "I can't speak for anything about that. ... I've been told by Ben, I've been told by the league that we have to abide by the gag order and I can't comment on anything involving the relocation to Norwich or Norwich itself."
When asked if the O-Tigers would play the 2010 season at Damaschke Field, Weber again used the gag order as a shield.