Last week and the weekbefore, I spent a lot of time writing in this blog about Wichita’s history with affiliated minor-league baseball. There was an ulterior motive. I hoped to ignite the flame for a return of the minor leagues to town, preceded by the building of a new baseball stadium where Lawrence-Lawrence-Dumont Stadium offers a scenic view of downtown Wichita. But there are some who believe a baseball stadium should be in the heart of downtown.Dumont Stadium sits.
Interesting responses today, both onSports Daily,a radio show I co-host, and in e-mails and the social media. The response has been favorable. I think Wichita’s baseball community agrees that independent baseball with the Wichita Wingnuts, while successful, has not satisfied the appetite of the baseball consumer. I also think people think Wichita needs a new, amenity-rich baseball stadium. L-D is decades old and any charm that once accompanied that age has disappeared.
It needs to be replaced.
Here are some of the Facebook responses I received:
Robbie Gouge – I have wanted it since the day the Wranglers left town. What would it take to get it back? Is there any organization looking to relocate?
Stanley Reeser -As much as I would love to see that happen, I went to many Wranglers playoff (I’m not talking regular season) games where there were under 900 people there, so I think the answer to your question is no — or at least not enough people want it.Rodney Gates - I have never been to a Wingnuts game, but used to go to several games each season to watch the Royals prospects and the visiting teams prospects!
David Freund – I like Rod, am Nuts-less. Wichita was left in the dust by other progressive cities who built these miniature gems of big league stadiums. Springfield, Springdale, Little Rock and Tulsa come to mind. I love old nostalgic ball parks but L-D reeks of stale beer and day old chewing tobacco. So what does this great town of Wichita do? They just add another coat of paint and bring in an organization of wanna-be ball players. Bush league? You bet. It fits Wichita's taste. You got plenty of wealth in Wichita to do exactly what John Q Hammons did in Springfield. Build it and they will come. Start off small with a Class-A team and go forward, perhaps getting to the level of the once and not forgotten Triple-A Aeros.
And one from Twitter:
@boblutz That ship has sailed. Like WSU football.I just hope there’s a conversation about baseball’s future in Wichita. I want people who love the game, and who love Wichita, to get together and talk about what is possible and what isn’t. There are ways to make this happen. It’s a matter of whether we want it to happen.I’m a baseball guy. I spent much of my youth and then much of my career at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. It’s a special place for me. There are some who believe a new ballpark should be built, but that it should be built in downtown Wichita, to the east of the Arkansas River.That’s a tough one for me. I like the current site of L-D, which provides a tremendous view of downtown Wichita.But everything should be on the table when it comes to a new ballpark and the possibility of bringing affiliated minor-league baseball back to town. We can’t let self interests carry the argument on this one. If there is a downtown location that makes sense, then by all means it should be looked at.I’m just hopeful there is a debate on this. I hope our city and county leaders understand that Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is in a state of disrepair. Band-aid approaches have gone about as far as they can to keep together the stadium’s infrastructure.Sooner or later, the future of the stadium has to be addressed. I believe L-D’s state contributed to Wichita losing minor league baseball after the 2007 season and all of the problems the NBC World Series has encountered the past few years.It’s not a destination facility anymore. Those days are gone. It’s time for a new era of baseball in Wichita, one that only a new stadium can usher in.