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Subject: Baseball in Kankakee in 2004

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Date Posted: 00:12:24 09/06/02 Fri

Wonder if this will give the Cheetahs any competition? Is Richard Clark any relation to the Old GM Gerry Clark?


Kankakee's quest to land a Mid-States League baseball franchise looks better than ever and the spokesman for the nine-member feasibility group is confident stadium construction will begin in spring 2003.

Richard Clark, the group's spokesman, wouldn't say the franchise is 100 percent set for Kankakee as the league's commissioner said a week ago, but did say "it's very much alive. It certainly looks better than it has in a long time.''

League commissioner Steve Spielman said play is scheduled to begin in June 2004 with six teams. The hope is to expand the league to eight teams by the following summer.

The league is planning franchises in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan. Spielman does not want the league to go beyond eight teams.

While Clark said some members of the feasibility group are likely to invest in the team, the door is open for community members to invest as well. Interested people should contact Clark at 932-9752.

"We would like to make this a community affair'' similar to the community-owned Green Bay Packers of the National Football League, he said. "The more people that are a part of it, the better this will be.''

The investment group would require an annual operating budget of about $500,000. The budget would support a 23-man roster, traveling, advertising and stadium needs.

The operating funds would not be used for stadium construction. The stadium would cost between $1.5 million to $3 million to build, Spielman said. Clark said the cost would be closer to $3 million than the $1.5 million figure.

"We have some very hard decisions that have to be made in the very near future,'' Clark said.

Clark did confirm that Interstate 57's 308 exit on the city's south side would be the location for the ballpark.

Mid-States League officials are planning a 72-game schedule to be played in June, July and August. Other communities that have committed or are nearly committed to joining the league are Kenosha, Wis., Valparaiso, Ind. and McHenry County.

The Kankakee group had initially investigated joining the independent Frontier League, but franchise fees for becoming a league member were nearly $650,000. Mid-States franchise fees are about $50,000.

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[> Subject: Re: Baseball in Kankakee in 2004

Oak Lawn Guy
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Date Posted: 14:23:07 09/06/02 Fri

Gerry "Clarke" was the CC GM, so I doubt there is any relation.

I suppose a Kankakee team would provide some competition, especially for players. (Not sure if they'd prefer to live in Kankakee or closer to Chicago, though.) But it's tough for anyone living north of I80 to make their way down there. There is no exit for southbound I57 off the Tollway if I am not mistaken.

The Southland is a market place unto itself and a winning team with a good park and fan friendly atmosphere with attractions and some giveaways can firmly entrench itself against fledgling franchises easily. I firmly believe this team will win next year, the mgmt seems to have a handle on talent judgment and just needs a little defense and more pitching. The park is great, I can't believe Kankakee can do any better. The atmosphere is great. The attractions and care given the park facilities need improvement but it seems mgmt knows that and has promised to do something about it.

If the pieces fall into place next year, I think a new league will be a non-issue.

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[> Subject: Re: Baseball in Kankakee in 2004

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Date Posted: 17:45:18 09/06/02 Fri

Thanks for the information, its always nice to hear what's going on in baseball in the area. I think Kankakee would be too far away to be any major threat to Cheetahs Attendance. Joliet is closest to the Cheetahs so that might lure a few out there who live south of Crestwood, but from the sounds of it 2003 should be the best year yet, from what I've seen and heard.

If anyone hears any off-season info about any of the other FL league teams, by all means, feel free to post it here as well, its nice to know what's going on in the league, as well as with the Cheetahs in the Off-Season.

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