With the River City Rascals (independent; Frontier League) set to play their final regular-season home game Thursday, O’Fallon, MO officials are working to land a new tenant at CarShield Field.
Earlier this month, the Rascals announced that they would cease operations at the end of 2019, making the current Frontier League season their last. The Rascals’ final regular-season home game is scheduled for Thursday night, which is prompting both nostalgia for the team and questions about what comes next for CarShield Field.
When the news that the Rascals would cease operations was announced, O’Fallon officials indicated that the city would begin searching for a new tenant to lease the ballpark beginning in 2020. That search is underway, with the city confident that it can land a new team in time for next season, perhaps one from either the independent or summer-collegiate league ranks. More from St. Louis Public Radio:
“We, at this point, are pretty confident that there will be a team in place for 2020,” said city spokesperson Thomas Drabelle. “You never know for sure. But the way things are proceeding right now, there’s been a ton of interest in the stadium. We’ve been contacted by basically every independent or prospect-type organization in the Midwest.”
The city owns CarShield Field — formerly known as T.R. Hughes Ballpark — which opened in 1999 when the Rascals moved to O’Fallon from Zanesville, Ohio. The Rascals operate the facility and can rent it out for other events when the team is not playing home games. Drabelle said the city would seek a similar lease agreement with any future tennant….
Looking forward, Drabelle expects a new team would be from an independent minor league, like the Rascals, or a summer collegiate league. Summer collegiate leagues are made up of amateur college players looking for playing time and experience over the summer while preserving NCAA eligibility.
It has been a long tradition of Rascals baseball at the ballpark, as the team has played there continuously since 1999. The Rascals remain in the hunt for a Frontier League playoff spot, so it is possible that they extend their run at CarShield Field by a few games, but general manager David Schmoll and the rest of the organization have some special plans for Thursday night to thank fans for their support over the years. More from St. Louis Public Radio:
The Rascals will celebrate their final regular-season home game at CarShield Field Thursday night with fan appreciation night.
“Every inning we’re going to have different giveaways of promo items from this past year and even from years past,” Schmoll said. “It’s just going to be a fun night for us to be able to really say thank you to all the fans who have supported us over the course of the past 21 years.”
The Rascals will face the Washington Wild Things in their final regular-season game at CarShield Field. Following a win on Wednesday, the Rascals’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot stands at two with four games to play, so it is very possible that they will close out their time at the ballpark with a postseason run.
The Rascals are currently one of 10 teams competing in the Frontier League. No other changes to the league’s lineup of teams have been announced for 2020.
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