The Beloit Snappers (Low A; Midwest League) have a September 3 deadline to find investment for a new ballpark, putting urgency behind the effort to replace Pohlman Field.
Pohlman Field has long been regarded as outdated by Minor League Baseball standards; the team has received waivers in recent years to continue play. That has prompted calls for a new ballpark, especially since the next MiLB/MLB agreement is unlikely to allow facilities to receive multiple and sequential waivers.
To address that situation, the Snappers have been looking to move forward with plans for a new downtown Beloit ballpark. Thus far, MiLB and the Midwest League have given the team’s board of directors time to find investment in a new facility, but it appears that a current September 3 deadline to secure that funding will hold firm. Officials are still working to obtain an investor, but warn that if the deadline is not reached, the next step will be to put the team up for sale. More from the Beloit Daily News:
“We’ve worked really hard to come up with an investor or group of investors who will keep the Snappers in Beloit by building a state-of-the-art stadium,” Stadium Committee Chairman Jim Agate said. “We have met with several individuals and groups and we’ve had some close calls, but unfortunately so far nothing has worked out.”
While the Midwest League and Minor League Baseball have been understanding when it comes to the stadium situation in Beloit, Agate said the franchise faces a real deadline of Sept 3 (Labor Day). The ballpark will not be up to Minor League Baseball standards and must be replaced.
“Minor League Baseball has gone out of its way to help us,” Agate said. “We’ve kept (MWL) President Dick Nussbaum apprised nearly day-to-day where we are. Labor Day, though, looks like our final deadline. If nothing works out, we will hire a broker and look to sell the team to the highest bidder. We would do that instead of just letting the league take the team away from us. It would be the smart thing to do. One way or another I think we’ll have a decision by Labor Day.”
The Committee is far from throwing in the towel. Recently a new investor emerged interested in not only acquiring the Snappers, but keeping them in Beloit. Agate would not divulge the identity of that interested party or any other minority investors at this time.
A new downtown Beloit ballpark has been pitched as a way to further investment in the area, while simultaneously resolving the facility issues that have faced the Snappers at Pohlman Field. That is an important area for the team given that the upcoming 2020 Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA), which has not been finalized, is expected to impose stricter facility standards that ultimately put the franchise’s future in Beloit in question.
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