While most Prospect League baseball fans in Hannibal are trying to come up with creative names for the local team, Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, is focused on getting Clemens Field ready for use by the team next summer.

While most Prospect League baseball fans in Hannibal are trying to come up with creative names for the local team, Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department, is focused on getting Clemens Field ready for use by the team next summer.

“When you’ve got an 80-plus-year-old facility there’s a lot here and there that needs to be done,” he said. “We’ve started on some odds and ends already down there.”

The late-September announcement that Hannibal will again feature a Prospect League team is not putting pressure on the parks department to tackle planned Clemens Field work sooner than later, according to Dorian.

“We had planned to do some stuff in October anyway,” he said. “Obviously we have to fill in some low spots on the turf and do more turf work. We’re working with Roland (Outdoor) on that and the Cavemen.

“There’s been some issues with the decking around the facility that we’ll be doing some work on. There’s some odds and ends like gates being broken. We’re working on the possibility of doing two new bullpens and hitting tunnels, one for the visitors and one for the home team. Those are all that we have planned for this fall.”

Not on the city’s to-do list will be removal of all references to the team’s former moniker.

“It (cost) would be on them,” said Dorian, referring to the Rick DeStefane-owned franchise. “Anything for marketing, things like that, that (expense) is on them.”

As for care of the field over the winter ahead, Dorian doesn’t foresee any big changes being needed based on what he has been told by team and league officials.

“Matt (Stembridge, general manager) and his dad have been really great to work with. It’s nice to have some other voices in there to help us with the field,” he said. “Dennis (Bastien), the (league) commissioner, is a field expert. It’s been good to talk to him and pick his brain about some of the ideas. I think we have a pretty good (field care) plan.”

The condition of the playing surface at Clemens Field has improved dramatically in a relatively short amount of time, reports Dorian.

“A couple of years ago we had nothing to do with the team and the field completely died. Once we took it back over this year it’s been a very difficult process to get it (grass) going again. With that being a complete sand field it’s a different level of maintenance compared with a normal field that we could have,” he said. “I think the field was a lot better this year than the year before. I think it will be better next year and I think the year after that it will be even better. That benefits the (Prospect League team), the tournaments that we hold, the Legion teams, so everybody wins on that.”

With the Prospect League’s Hannibal team in hibernation this past summer, the parks department was free to schedule use of the ballpark as it saw fit. That changes in 2018.

“We’re not going to have the carte blanche to just rent whenever we want now, but I talked to Rick (DeStefane) at the (Oct. 3) press conference and he was pretty adamant that we need to make sure the Legion is still able to use the facility and that’s kind of what we think as well,” said Dorian. “I think the plan is once the Prospect League schedule comes out then we will sit down with the Legion teams and coordinate that (overall schedule) out. I know there are already some plans for tournaments. But until that Prospect League schedule comes out we’re not booking anything.”

Communication between the city and team has Dorian upbeat about the future.

“We pretty much talk every single day,” he said. “We’re all kind of on the same page.

“They want the same things we want. We just want to have a nice facility. They obviously want a nice facility for the (team). A nice facility is better for our kids in the community.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com