Future installments of the NBC World Series will not be played entirely at a new Wichita ballpark, as event organizers are making plans for a split-venue arrangement.
Set to open in 2020 for the relocating New Orleans Baby Cakes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), the new Wichita ballpark is being built on the site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the previous NBC World Series host and home to several baseball professional teams over its decades of operation. With Lawrence-Dumont Stadium no longer standing, the entirety of this summer’s NBC World Series is taking place at Wichita State’s Eck Stadium.
Going forward, it appears that both Eck Stadium and the new ballpark will play a role in staging the annual event. The new ballpark is expected to be used for at least some of the two-week tournament, but staging the entirety of the NBC World Series at the facility would create scheduling challenges by requiring an extended road trip for the Wichita PCL team, prompting chairman Matt Rogers and other NBC World Series officials to come up with the split-venue solution. More from the Wichita Eagle:
Eck Stadium isn’t a one-year mercenary that will bear the NBC World Series. Rogers said with the Miami Marlins’ AAA affiliate set to come to Wichita, Eck Stadium will continue to serve as a second site for the tournament. It is not feasible to think a minor-league team will be away from home for 14 days, Rogers said.
That will bring questions of renting two venues at once for two weeks, but Rogers said the NBC World Series will find a way.
“This tournament has made it for 85 years, and it’s not just the location that has made it happen,” Rogers said. “The entirety of the tournament will never be back downtown. We’re going to have to be creative with what we do.”
Traditionally, the NBC World Series had forced Lawrence-Dumont Stadium’s professional baseball tenants–including the Wichita Wranglers (Class AA; Texas League) and, more recently, the Wichita Wingnuts (independent; American Association)–to take extended road trips to free up the ballpark for the event. Although that will not be the case at the new ballpark, it appears that the facility will at least play some role in the tournament’s future.
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