A night at the ballpark might be the last thing on most people's minds in the middle of the winter. But it won’t be long before you can look forward to hearing the crack of a wooden bat at Community Field in Burlington.
The Burlington Bees, a former minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, will play ball this summer despite being cut from minor league baseball last year.
The team's General Manager, Kim Parker, described to the Burlington City Council a conversation she had with a concerned fan. She told the fan that the team will have the same name, same uniforms, and recruit players from colleges around the nation.
"She goes… 'so you mean to tell me we're gonna have a bunch of baseball players in the same uniform, at the same fields, and it's just gonna look exactly the same?' (And I replied), A lot of people won't even be able to tell the difference."
The Bees have joined the Prospect League, a wooden bat collegiate league with teams across the Midwest, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Parker said she felt an obligation to keep baseball in Burlington.
“A lot of people don't realize how much goes on at the ballpark, from kids birthday parties to company outings, to us having events that allow high schools and little leagues,” she said.
“Notre Dame does a bulk of their fundraising at our concession stands every summer. There's more that goes into it than just us being baseball."
Parker said she views the team as a "beacon in the community," and they try to do what they can to support both the community and other non-profit groups in the area.
Parker said the biggest difference will be when the season starts, as they won't be playing April games, which she said generally had lower attendance due to cold temperatures. She said April is usually when the majority of rainouts happened. The team will begin playing in May, with their first home game on May 30.
Parker also said the team will have more freedom in promotions and activities on the field without the MLB affiliation. She mentioned being able to host high-school ball games at Community Field and the impact it had on players.
The Bees are a community owned baseball team, with a history that dates back more than 100 years in Burlington.
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