Legion, tournaments will keep Clemens Field occupied in 2018.
With the playing of this weekend's Missouri-Illinois All-Star Baseball Game a busy season of baseball will wind up at Clemens Field. According to Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, the ball park's schedule could be even busier during the summer of 2018.
“I could see 50 games being played down there next year even if the Cavemen are not here. We hosted over 30 this year,” Dorian told the Park Board during its Thursday night meeting at City Hall.
The future of the Prospect League team has been clouded since it was announced on Jan. 6 that the Cavemen, who had been based in Hannibal since the 2009 season, were suspending operations for the 2017 season.Rick DeStefane, a co-owner of the team, has indicated a desire to revive the team in 2018, but thus far his intentions for next season have not been revealed.
“I don't know anything new on the Cavemen,” said Dorian on Thursday.
On June 20, the City Council approved a new 10-year lease agreement with Clemens Field Management LLC regarding the use of Clemens Field. Under terms of the new pact the Cavemen's games would have scheduling priority, but the Parks Department would have the authority to schedule events on dates not previously requested by the team.
“We're already starting to look at bookings for next year for tournaments,” said Dorian. “We're looking at doing even bigger tournaments next year.
“We've talked to several tournament organizers from outside the area – St. Louis and one in Iowa – for possible April and May tournaments, which wouldn't really effect the Cavemen.”
Because the Cavemen's intentions are unknown the Parks Department hasn't “booked anything solidly yet,” said Dorian.
While the scheduling of baseball tournaments next season has yet to commence, and the Cavemen's future is in limbo, one thing is known regarding who will be playing at Clemens Field next summer.
“The Legion will come back next year,” said Dorian. “They've been great to work with.”
The partnership between the Parks Department and American Legion baseball program climaxed last weekend when Clemens Field hosted the state Legion tourney.
“There were eight teams from across the state,” said Dorian. “It was a really big success.”
Dorian advised the Park Board that he is please with the playing surface's condition.
“The field has come a long way from last year and the year before,” said Dorian. “Now that we have direct control over it again it's looking a lot better. It's not perfect. Next year we're going to do a ton more projects and it will look even better.”
Reach reporter Danny Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org