Games will go on.
Games will go on.
Even as flood water from nearby Bear Creek crept steadily closer Wednesday morning to Clemens Field, home of the Hannibal Cavemen, John Civitate, the team’s general manager, expressed optimism that fans will still be able to watch the hometown team in action at the historic ball yard in the coming week.
“We won’t lose games with this, I can almost 100 percent guarantee that,” he said. “It has to get way higher than they’re predicting to get up onto the field.”
The only thing the rising water might impact is how fans enter the ballpark, according to Civitate.
“Last year we brought them (fans) in the main entrance way. We’ve brought them in the side entrance way. We can get them in. It (flood water) won’t affect the ball play at all,” he said.
Even though he is optimistic that games will continue to be played at Clemens, it doesn’t mean that Civitate isn’t watching the water and keeping close tabs on the latest flood-crest predictions.
“It’s 22.5 or 22.7 that it’s coming into the plaza,” he said, referring to the paved area on the south side of the ballpark. “The crest is not until Wednesday (July 9) or Thursday (July 10).”
Based on past floods, Civitate knows there will be a mess to deal with once the brown water begins to retreat, especially if current crest forecast (25.9 feet on Monday, July 7) proves accurate.
“It might be 3 or 4 feet into the concession area, which is a lot, but with being prepared for it it won’ be bad at all. It’s just having to wash the mud and everything off. It’s not going to be as bad as last year was for sure,” he said.
With each passing flood, Civitate says the team is learning how to respond.
“We’re getting smarter at this. We’re probably more prepared this year than we ever have been. We don’t look forward to it,” he said.
One thing Cavemen brass aren’t doing is sitting around, hoping that forecasters are wrong about how high the water will rise.
“The ‘wait-and-see game’ doesn’t work,” said Civitate. “We’re waiting until after the Friday game (to begin moving essentials). All indications are we shouldn’t have any problems until then.
“We have moved things out of the plaza that we won’t be needing for Friday’s game, the extra supplies we store down there and the tables and chairs we store down there, we’ve already moved those. After Friday we’ll probably move everything out of our coolers and freezers and be ready for it. It’s easier to bring it back in than to get them out when the water is rushing in.”
A big turnout is anticipated for the Cavemen’s next home game on Friday, July 4. Civitate says many people will be watching both baseball and fireworks from the same location that night.
“That’s the whole plan, being at the ballpark is the best view in town to sit and watch the fireworks. For a small admission you’ll also see a good baseball game as we play the Quincy Gems. It’s going to be a battle for the paddle,” he said. “We’re excited about that game for sure.”