The Wichita Wingnuts (independent; American Association) played their final game at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Monday, but questions remain about the ballpark’s future.
In May, it was announced that the 2018 season would be the Wingnuts’ last at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, as the ballpark would not be available for 2019 and beyond. City officials have been working to land an affiliated Minor League Baseball team, with that pitch centered around a ballpark proposal that calls for demolishing Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and building a replacement on the same site. The effort had been focused around a new facility that could house a Class AAA Pacific Coast League team and perhaps professional soccer, but a promised December 2017 announcement did not come to be, and things have been quiet on the relocation front since.
The Wingnuts defeated the Sioux City Explorers on Monday by a final of 4-1. Wichita is not advancing to the American Association postseason, so Monday’s regular-season finale concluded the club’s run at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The exact futures of both the franchise and the ballpark remain unknown, but Monday’s finale gave fans the opportunity to reflect on the facility’s legacy. More from The Sunflower:
Wichitan Mo Barnhart spoke fondly of attending National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series games as a child. The NBC World Series has been held at Lawrence Dumont since its inception in 1935. Barnhart said it will be hard for her to let go of the stadium.
“It’s just a lot of family fun and lots of memories,” Barnhart said. “Just everybody screaming and yelling and being close enough to the team — you know, having a small enough stadium so we can actually get down there and talk to the players.
“It’s really sad. I’m trying not to cry right now,” Barnhart said after the last out was recorded.
She said she doesn’t mind the wear and tear of Lawrence Dumont, but that she and her family will take baseball wherever they can get it.
The Wingnuts began play at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in 2008. Their arrival came after the departure of the ballpark’s last affiliated MiLB tenant, the Wichita Wranglers (Class AA; Texas League), who relocated to Springdale, AR after the 2007 season.
In addition to the Wingnuts, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium hosts the annual National Baseball Congress World Series. That event is slated to remain in Wichita regardless of the ballpark’s future, as an agreement is in place to move the World Series to Wichita State University’s Eck Stadium in the event that Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is no longer available.
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