Right on schedule: with the appointment of a new parks and rec director in Kalamazoo, the city is discussing a lease for Homer Stryker Field with the summer-collegiate Northwoods League.
There had been talks between the league and Frances Jewell, outgoing parks and rec director, but the mutual decision was made not to pursue a deal until her retirement in December, giving the new parks and rec director, Sean Fletcher, the freedom to make a deal he would administer. After issuing an RFP and opening the ballpark for tours, the Northwoods League was the only entity to submit a bid.
According to owners we’ve contracted, Kalamazoo would host a new team in the league, not a relocating team. A 2014 launch is anticipated, though a lease for the ballpark would begin in 2013. The league is already expanding to Kenosha for the 2014 season; we also hear there are a few other markets, including another Wisconsin market, that could be added for 2014 as well if ballpark issues can be settled.
Homer Stryker Field, the former home of the Kalamazoo Kings (independent; Frontier League), has been empty since the Kings folded in 2011, and a 10-year contract signed by the Kings ended in December 2012. The establishment of a Kalamazoo team makes sense for the circuit: a Kalamazoo team would be a good partner with the Battle Creek Bombers and simplify travel arrangements for the league.
RELATED STORIES: Northwoods League extends B.C. lease, eyes Kalamazoo
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.