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Fielders to play "many" of their remaining games against Fielders
August 14, 2011 - Robert Collias
Anyone who reads the Roblog knows I have taken some time away from Maehara Stadium since the final homestand for Na Koa Ikaika Maui was wiped out when the Lake County Fielders didn't come — there's lots of fun reading prior to this entry — but I have been keeping an eye on the situation to see what is going on.
No word from Na Koa recently, no word from the North American Baseball League even after reversing course overnight Wednesday and saying the Fielders were out of the league and then back in, discussing the situation with Maui, but I did find this vague press release on the Fielders' website this afternoon:
Zion, IL. The Lake County Fielders, a minor league baseball team in Zion, IL, and the North American League have vowed to stay together -- with a twist for the remaining 2011 games. The League and its member teams, recognizing the high costs of air travel this summer coupled with a distressed economy, will adjust the current schedule for the remainder of the season, and provide all 10 League markets with the same professional baseball experience at an affordable cost for fans in each community.
For the Lake County Fielders, the plan includes a Monday announcement by the Fielders that the team will play many of its remaining home games against the newly formed Kenosha County Fielders, a team of professional minor leaguers that will challenge their Lake County counterparts when other League teams are not traveling into town. Further details on the Kenosha County Fielders will be announced over the next two days.
"The Fielders and the North American League are taking every creative measure necessary to support this market and stadium project, and keep professional baseball alive for Zion and the surrounding communities," said team spokesman Bernie DiMeo of DiMeo Communications. "We"ll continue what we started -- professional baseball in a family friendly environment at an affordable price. This little minor league team has made more comebacks this season than Rocky Balboa, and we're going to finish this marathon!"
The "marathon" referred to by DiMeo started with a 38-day road trip necessitated by the City of Zion's stadium construction delays. The Fielders season started on May 25th, but the City didn't begin construction on the temporary facilty until early June.
"We hope the City can quickly fix whatever internal issues at City Hall have caused the delays, so that in 2012 the Fielders, their fans, and the community can finally have their stadium." said Dimeo.
What all that means is Latin to me — and, no, I don't know Latin — but it sounds, at least a little bit, like Maui's 11-game trip to Lake County that is set to begin Tuesday could be in jeopardy. What will Maui do if it doesn't play the first 11 games of its season-ending 23-game roadtrip? Who knows, like I said above nobody has told me or The Maui News anything regarding the situation.
Interesting line here from that press release: The League and its member teams, recognizing the high costs of air travel this summer coupled with a distressed economy, will adjust the current schedule for the remainder of the season, and provide all 10 League markets with the same professional baseball experience at an affordable cost for fans in each community." Pretty vague again, but perhaps we will find out precisely how much this league wants its only Hawaii team around for the future here down the stretch. My guess is that the other nine teams in the NABL aren't super jazzed about the cost of flights to the Valley Isle over the long run, and clearly the Fielders (the Lake County ones) don't like the idea of playing here.
What does it mean for the Fielders (the Lake County ones)? Don't know that either since the city of Zion, Ill., says they are $175,000 behind in back rent dating back to last season. Hard for me to believe that the city and the NABL want to keep them around much longer, unless, perhaps, there is a new well-funded buyer in the wings as we have linked to a couple of blogs ago.
Seems like they say we will find out tomorrow, but then again, we have heard that before.
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