The Joliet JackHammers almost salted the territory after failing to pay bills the past few seasons, but the Joliet Slammers (independent; Frontier League) are working hard to regain community trust — and succeeding.
The JackHammers folded after owing $400,000 to vendors and $200,000 to the city for rent at Silver Cross Field — a deficit that basically forced their eviction from the ballpark. Coming in after that is a huge challenge: burn a vendor once and it’s hard to regain trust. And, given the cycles of the baseball economy, having access to credit from some vendors is a must.
So far the Slammers are winning high marks for financial stability and community involvement. Led by owner Alan Oremus and GM John Dittrich, the team is lagging a little at the box office (averaging 2,158 fans a game, good for eighth in the 12-team Frontier League, but not that far behind fifth-place Normal CornBelters). And, really, the 2011 season is all about regaining trust and winning back fans. Next season will be the year the Slammers expect to see the really big numbers.
RELATED STORIES: Joliet JackHammers unveil logos, uniforms; New for 2011: Joliet Slammers; New group takes control of Joliet ballpark; Joliet approves Steel City Baseball lease for Silver Cross Field; Joliet to enter Frontier League if lease approved; Joliet bid to enter Frontier League under consideration; Joliet city officials to lobby at Frontier League meetings; Joliet throws monkey wrench in league mergers; New for 2011: North American League; Three indy leagues joining forces for 2011?; Seals: Canaries in the coal mine?
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