Flying over Lawrence-Dumont Stadium at dusk
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the date of the championship game.
The National Baseball Congress is set to host its 84th annual World Series tournament starting Friday, and spectators can get used to hearing that catchphrase, paying homage to Raymond “Hap” Dumont, the World Series’ founder in 1934.
The NBC World Series has been a staple at Lawrence-Dumont since the stadium was built a year after the tournament began. But with the likely move to Wichita State’s Eck Stadium in 2019, and potentially beyond, Kevin Jenks, NBC general manager and tournament director, said it’s time to pay respect to the man who gave so much.
“Hap was way ahead of his time as far as being a promoter and coming up with creative ideas,” Jenks said. “Some were great. Some we still use to this day. Some did not last one year. But that’s Hap.”
The tournament will run more than two weeks with the championship game scheduled for Aug. 11. Until then, the NBC World Series will include about 40 games of some of the best players in college baseball and tons of Hap moments Jenks said the NBC has accrued through the years.
Dumont died in 1971, and the stadium added his namesake seven years later, but because of major upgrades needed to the infrastructure and facilities, the city of Wichita announced it would be the Wichita Wingnuts’ last season there.
Although the city has not officially informed the NBC whether 2018 is the last year for the World Series, Jenks said they have to plan like it is.
Jenks took over as the NBC’s leader in 2014 and said he has enjoyed his time directing the organization and World Series. The tournament can’t sell two weeks of summer league baseball as the reason for spectators to come out, Jenks said.
“We take the approach this year of making it a destination for everyone to where they have a great experience in a great atmosphere,” Jenks said.
Potentially leaving Lawrence-Dumont isn’t ideal, Jenks said. It is home, but he said he understands the challenges the stadium faces. The NBC isn’t losing money and isn’t changing what it does, he said — just changing locations.
“We’re responsible for something a man literally gave his life and passion for,” Jenks said. “Hap was part of the NBC World Series for 40 years. He and many others have given a big chunk of their life to keep this legacy going, and that means a lot to us.
“And that’s what will make this year special.”
Friday schedule (July 27)
Denver, CO Cougars vs. San Antonio, TX Angels at 1 p.m. (Pool C)
Northwest, AZ Boom vs. Derby, KS Twins at 3:30 p.m. (Pool A)
Liberal, KS Bee Jays vs. 316 Elite at 7 p.m. (Pool C)
Waco, TX Missions Sultanes vs. Mulvane, KS Patriots at 9:30 p.m. (Pool A)
Saturday Schedule (July 28)
GPS Baseball - Texas vs. Newton Rebels at 1 p.m. (Pool D)
Colorado Cyclones vs. Texas Prospects at 3:30 p.m. (Pool B)
Colorado Sox vs. Kansas Cannons at 7 p.m. (Pool D)
San Diego, CA Reign vs. Hutchinson, KS Monarchs at 9:30 p.m. (Pool B)