BELOIT, WI - As the Beloit Snappers finished the 2017 season, the Beloit Professional Baseball Association, which owns the club, saw this season as a winning campaign to keep Minor League Baseball in the Stateline area for the foreseeable future.
The team recently produced a video that reveals the potential for the city to build a new stadium that will enhance the community and ensure the Snappers remain in Beloit for years to come. The video examines Beloit through the eyes of a peer minor league and Midwest League city in Midland, Michigan. Home to over 40,000 residents, Midland was able to attract Minor League Baseball in 2006 after investors built Dow Diamond. The stadium also served as an anchor for a downtown riverfront revitalization that has sustained more than a decade later and drew two million fans before their 10th anniversary. The Great Lakes Loons occupy Dow Diamond as the Los Angeles Dodgers Class-A affiliate and has graduated Major League All-Stars such as Clayton Kershaw, Dee Gordon, Corey Seager, and Kenley Jansen.
The video features Midland baseball executives drawing parallels between their stadium experience with the Great Lakes Loons and the potential of a new stadium in Beloit. It was produced after a number of Beloit baseball and business leaders visited Midland in June for a research tour of the stadium and city when the Loons hosted the 2017 Midwest League All-Star Game. The tour was arranged by Great Lakes Loons President Paul Barbeau, who previously visited Beloit and gave presentations to team management and business leaders.
"What I really took note of is the fact that there are opportunities for so many things to happen there," Beloit Professional Baseball Association Vice President and chairman of the Snappers new stadium committee Jim Agate says in the video. Agate, who co-owns Culvers in Beloit, noted the range of amenities and offerings at the stadium as appealing to a wide audience. He also took note of the businesses that had sprung up around the stadium and were thriving.
Urgency in new stadium efforts in Beloit followed a visit to Beloit in March 2017 by Pat O'Conner, President of Minor League Baseball. O'Conner met with team leaders to stress that without a stadium that met current standards, the city could lose the team when Minor League Baseball renegotiates the Professional Baseball Agreement with Major League Baseball to provide 160 Player Development Contracts beyond the 2020 season.
Pohlman Field, the Snappers home since 1982 and the birth of Minor League Baseball in Beloit, is woefully behind modern stadium standards. According to O'Conner, the Snappers facility sits in the bottom two percent of all 160 stadiums in Minor League Baseball for player training and conditioning, fan experience and seating, and team management offices.
However, O'Conner said that he was impressed by the vision and the efforts the board had taken as of his March visit. The trip to Midland by Beloit team officials and the revival of a plan to build a new stadium in downtown Beloit has only strengthened the board's position as the baseball season transpired.
Agate and other board members hope community members will be swept away with an excitement for the team in the same way the original stakeholders were when they first brought professional baseball to Beloit by viewing the new video.
"Sometimes, it helps to see something through the eyes of other people," Agate said. "The genuine enthusiasm that the Midland folks have for Beloit and the possibility for the team and community is contagious."
For more information about the Snappers and their vision for a new stadium, contact Jim Agate at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 290-4096.
LINK TO VIDEO: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1826682783&topic_id=&sid=t554&tcid=vpp_copy_1826682783&v=3
The Beloit Snappers have been a member of the Midwest League since 1982 and the Class-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics since 2013. The club is owned by the Beloit Professional Baseball Association, Inc.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.