If the Hannibal Cavemen’s season had been scheduled to begin Thursday, there’s a good chance the field could have been made ready for a game. Getting fans in the stands might have been another matter, considering the plaza area and about half of the parking lot were still under water.
“It’s all off the field now and it looks great,” said General Manager John Civitate. “We didn’t get much debris on it. It’s greening up really good. That rain we had the other day helped out quite a bit. The part where it (flood water) receded and left mud, it washed a lot of it off.”
Also counted as a blessing was the fact the clubhouse, located in Clemens Field’s northwest corner, was not inundated with flood water.
“It wasn’t but 1 or 2 inches to make it wet and leave a little bit of silt. It really wasn’t as bad as we thought,” said Civitate. “We had everything pretty much on tables and desks. We lucked out pretty good there.”
The area that went the deepest under water was beneath the grandstand.
“Our concessions got hit the worst. We didn’t have time to get most of the equipment out. There was 6 or 7 feet of water in there,” said Civitate, estimating that 3 to 4 feet of water were still in that area Thursday. “All in all it could have been a whole lot worse.”
This month’s flood, which crested at 27.63 feet last Sunday, was the biggest in terms of its crest since the team began playing in Hannibal in 2009, eclipsing marks of 23.59 (June 2011), 23.17 (April 2011) and 22.59 (June 2010).
“Having gone through this before, we knew more what to do,” said Civitate.
Next up will be cleaning up around the ballpark. That task won’t fall solely to Civitate and his wife, Judy.
“We’ve had some volunteers that called and asked if we needed any help. It’s going to be as soon as the water gets out of the concession stands,” the Cavemen’s GM said. “The dugouts might need a little bit of power washing. It didn’t get into any of the suites, but a little bit of the deck needs power washing. Mainly it’s going to be the parking lot and plaza, getting the mud off of there, and the bathrooms and concessions.”
Cleanup volunteers haven’t been the only ones calling Civitate.
“I’ve had a lot of concerned calls from people who know my number,” he said, noting that ballpark phones have yet to be reconnected since the flood. “Everybody is a little bit concerned but we have so much time. We have a whole month before our first game.”
Page 2 of 2 - The Cavemen open their 2013 season May 28 on the road at Springfield, Ill. Their first scheduled home game is May 29 when they host the Dans of Danville.
Civitate wants fans to not be nervous about the flood’s impact.
“Don’t let this water bother you. It’s not going to affect our games at all,” he said. “We have more things planned for this year than we’ve ever had planned before.”