Last week and the weekbefore, I spent a lot of time writing in this blog about Wichita’s history with affiliated minor-league baseball. There was an ulterior motive. I hoped to ignite the flame for a return of the minor leagues to town, preceded by the building of a new baseball stadium where Lawrence-
Dumont Stadium sits.
Interesting responses today, both onSports Daily,a radio show I co-host, and in e-mails and the social media. The response has been favorable. I think Wichita’s baseball community agrees that independent baseball with the Wichita Wingnuts, while successful, has not satisfied the appetite of the baseball consumer. I also think people think Wichita needs a new, amenity-rich baseball stadium. L-D is decades old and any charm that once accompanied that age has disappeared.
It needs to be replaced.
Here are some of the Facebook responses I received:
Robbie Gouge – I have wanted it since the day the Wranglers left town. What would it take to get it back? Is there any organization looking to relocate?
Stanley Reeser -As much as I would love to see that happen, I went to many Wranglers playoff (I’m not talking regular season) games where there were under 900 people there, so I think the answer to your question is no — or at least not enough people want it.
@boblutz That ship has sailed. Like WSU football.
I just hope there’s a conversation about baseball’s future in Wichita. I want people who love the game, and who love Wichita, to get together and talk about what is possible and what isn’t. There are ways to make this happen. It’s a matter of whether we want it to happen.
I’m a baseball guy. I spent much of my youth and then much of my career at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. It’s a special place for me. There are some who believe a new ballpark should be built, but that it should be built in downtown Wichita, to the east of the Arkansas River.
That’s a tough one for me. I like the current site of L-D, which provides a tremendous view of downtown Wichita.
But everything should be on the table when it comes to a new ballpark and the possibility of bringing affiliated minor-league baseball back to town. We can’t let self interests carry the argument on this one. If there is a downtown location that makes sense, then by all means it should be looked at.
I’m just hopeful there is a debate on this. I hope our city and county leaders understand that Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is in a state of disrepair. Band-aid approaches have gone about as far as they can to keep together the stadium’s infrastructure.
Sooner or later, the future of the stadium has to be addressed. I believe L-D’s state contributed to Wichita losing minor league baseball after the 2007 season and all of the problems the NBC World Series has encountered the past few years.
It’s not a destination facility anymore. Those days are gone. It’s time for a new era of baseball in Wichita, one that only a new stadium can usher in.