The City of O’Fallon says it has terminated the CarShield Field lease for the River City Rascals (independent; Frontier League) and locked the team out of the ballpark, but the team says it plans on playing again for the 2019 season.
City officials say the team is behind almost $50,000 on lease payments, including deferred payments created during a 2017 lease renegotiation. But the team, in a response posted on the team website and reprinted below, says that there are no late lease payments and that the team wants to return in 2019. From KSDK.com:
Tom Drabelle is the communications director for the City of O’Fallon, he said the tenants kept being late on their rent payments.
“There have been some repeated late payments, we last renegotiated their lease in 2017 and there was some outstanding debt at that time that they were required to catch up on and they haven’t quite caught up yet,” Drabelle said….
“Even though this course of action is going on right now this building is not going to stay vacant. This is something that’s really going to have a future and we think whether it be baseball or something else it will be occupied next summer for sure,” Drabelle said.
Here’s the response from the Rascals:
Recently, you may have seen reports that our organization has unpaid bills to the City of O’Fallon and that our lease has been terminated on CarShield Field. We want to address these reports directly and assure you that we have every intention of playing baseball in 2019 and beyond while providing the same affordable, entertaining experience for the O’Fallon and Saint Charles County community.
The reports that we have unpaid bills to the City of O’Fallon are false. All lease and various other payments due to the city were made in advance of the recent media reports stating otherwise. The Rascals greatly value our relationship with CarShield Field, the City of O’Fallon, and it’s residents. Our intention is, and always has been, to continue making our payments on any lease agreement that we have in place and carrying on our twenty year legacy of minor league baseball and family entertainment in this region.
Our organization is strong and has an eye toward a bright future after making tremendous strides during the 2018 season. We continue to host youth baseball and soccer events on top of the MSHSAA Baseball Championships and other athletic events at Carshield Field. Including the Rascals, we hosted over 150 events at the ballpark this year. It is our strong desire to remain a tenant in O’Fallon and move forward with our 21st season in the Frontier League. That desire has been outlined in detail along with proposals to address any deficiencies in our previous lease agreement.
Independent minor league baseball is neither glamorous for the players nor the teams. Keeping prices low for our fans means we will never have the profits of a major league sports team. We do this for the love of the game and the opportunity to entertain our fans in the community and provide a safe and clean environment for families and youth in our area, especially during the summer months when outdoor activities are at a premium. We believe we fill a major need in the community and the tens of thousands of patrons that come to our games annually confirm that belief. Although our financial situation has been difficult at points in the previous 20 years, we have remained committed to the City of O’Fallon and Rascals fans and will continue to do so.
We look forward to the opportunity to work with the City of O’Fallon on developing a new agreement that will keep the Rascals a part of our community. After 20 years and hundreds of thousands of fans coming through the ballpark, we are more dedicated than ever to keeping baseball alive in O’Fallon and Saint Charles County.
In the meantime, we are continuing operations and fulfilling all of our obligations to our season ticket holders and corporate partners. As updates become available, we will provide those on our website and social media accounts. We would love to hear from you on social media about your great memories of Rascals baseball through the years!