Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Batter up: What the city wants from a baseball team

As The Eagle's Joanna Chadwick reported this morning, the Northern League will be in town this week chatting with potential investors who want to bring a new baseball team to Wichita. If and when the money comes together, one of the first steps new teams will take is a tour of the ballpark. In April, Northern League Commissioner Clark Griffith foreshadowed some concerns about the stadium in The Eagle. "It probably needs some upgrading to realize its full potential," he said. "When you walk in and see slabs of wood for seats, it probably needs some new seats. You can't get away with that now. People expect more, and they expect government people to supply them with more."

The city is already designing improvements to the dugouts, locker rooms, infields and concession stands at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. But whichever teams submit proposals to be Wichita's next baseball team will be asked to outline other potential improvements to the 72-year-old ballpark, according to the city's request for proposals. (See a PDF of the RFP on The Eagle's site.)

Among things the city suggests a new team check out are improvements to general seating, player facilities, the field itself, back of the house operating spaces, press facilities, fan experiences, concession and food service locations and services, merchandising locations and spaces, premium services and seating, advertising and sponsorship opportunities, parking improvements and overall site improvements.

Whew, sounds like a whole new ballpark. And the city suggests a new team identify public and private funds to pay for it.


Anonymous said...

There aren't wooden benches for seats at the stadium? It's 72 years old and still functioning, counts for something. Maybe they should focus on preserving its history, enhance it, not redo it?

Anonymous said...

It's hard to support a semi-pro baseball team in a town that has such a large fan base for the Wichita State baseball team. I'd be surprised if we ever have a constant high attendance rate for semi-pro baseball games in Wichita.