A new, summer-league baseball team will call Cape Girardeau home, starting in June 2019, city and team officials announced Friday.
The team, which has yet to be named, will be part of the wood-bat Prospect League and play a 60-game schedule, Mayor Harry Rediger said during a news conference at the Cape Girardeau SportsPlex.
Rediger said the team will play its games at the artificial-turfed Capaha Field.
Mark Hogan, who retired as baseball coach for Southeast Missouri State University, will serve as general manager of the new team.
Hogan is part of the ownership group that includes Cape Girardeau businessman and majority owner Anand “Andy” Patel and Montgomery Bank executive vice president Jim Limbaugh.
According to a news release, team owners and the city of Cape Girardeau plan to make more improvements to the baseball facility by adding fencing and replacing benches with chair-back seating.
Spectators will have to pay an admission fee to watch the game, Hogan said after the news conference.
Hogan said the team will lease Capaha Field from the city.
According to the news release, the team will invest money into site improvements in lieu of lease payments.
The ownership group plans to tour facilities of other teams in the league and meet with other owners as it looks to build the Cape Girardeau team, according to the news release.
Rediger thanked Patel for his “confidence in Cape Girardeau.”
He said the Cape Girardeau team will be part of a league of teams stretching from Missouri to West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
“This will be an economic driver for our city as out-of-state fans, families and major-league scouts will be coming to Cape Girardeau and attending games,” the mayor said.
The new team will result in “major improvements” to the Capaha Park baseball facility this year and in early 2019, Rediger said.
Hogan and city officials did not spell out all the planned improvements to the baseball facility.
But Hogan said those improvements “are going to make our fan experience amazing.”
As general manager, Hogan said he looks forward to “help structure the coaching staff and bring in the right type of people to lead this program.”
Hogan said he also will be involved in acquisition of “quality players from around the country.”
The Prospect League gives college athletes experience with wood-bat competition and the opportunity to be seen by Major League Baseball scouts, according to the news release.
The league has a long list of players and coaches who have made it to clubs at the major league level, the release stated.
It is a “first-class, affordable and family-oriented” entertainment option, according to the Prospect League website.
“There are already some great ball programs in Cape,” Hogan said. “We want to add to the options and really enhance the experience for baseball fans and families.”
City officials said all local baseball groups will benefit from improvements to Capaha Field.
The Prospect League plays scheduled games at night. The Mon-Clair League, a new affiliation for the Capahas baseball team, plays in the afternoon.
Neither of those teams’ season interferes with the university’s baseball schedule, officials said.
Rediger said the Prospect League “will bring Cape Girardeau into the national baseball arena.”
He said, “It is an exciting opportunity to enhance the current strong baseball presence in our city and area.”