With the Helena Brewers (Rookie; Pioneer League) set to relocate, city officials are considering the best future use for Kindrick Legion Field and whether it will include summer-collegiate ball.
Kindrick Legion Field is currently used for both the Brewers and American Legion baseball — a major activity in Montana, with most larger cities hosting at least two squads, and three in Helena — but the Brewers are moving to Colorado Springs following the 2018 season. Despite the impending loss of Minor League Baseball, the future of Kindrick Legion Field has never really been in doubt, as American Legion baseball will ensure that the ballpark remains active.
The larger question for officials is whether or not to devote the ballpark primarily to American Legion baseball, or to bring a summer-collegiate league team into the fold as well. The summer-collegiate Expedition League has shown interest in Helena, proposing to place a team there starting in 2019. Any final decision on the Expedition League proposal will fall to the city commission, but American Legion officials believe that the best solution is to focus solely on amateur baseball at Kindrick Legion Field. For its part, city staff has issued a recommendation along those lines, noting that it would help local youth baseball grow while giving the city more flexibility in using the ballpark for other events. More from MontanaSports.com:
“The schedule with three Legion teams, along with the Brewers, was quite heavy and the field always requires rest,” said [American Legion general manager Greg] Thornquist. “That was one of the reasons the B team wasn’t able to play and understanding that the B team came after the Brewers were here, so we had to work around that, did the best that we could.”
Thornquist and others in Helena also believe that the benifits of the Legion teams solely occupying the park could reach further into the community.
“City staff is recommending that we not enter into a new agreement with a new baseball league, rather we would let the youth baseball team here in Helena expand and see if they can do more in sponsorships, do more with regional tournaments,” said Helena Parks and Recreation director Amy Teagarden. “Looking at the community benefits, is there more benefit by being able to use the Kindrick Legion Field for other community events and activities such as concerts, those types of things?”
Kindrick Legion Field originally opened in 1932, and is currently the oldest active ballpark in the Pioneer League. The Brewers are currently scheduled to play their final regular-season home game there on September 3.