Tag Archives: Joliet Slammers

Joliet Slammers Win Championship, Renew Lease

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On Tuesday, the Joliet Slammers had two very important victories.

The team won the Frontier League championship by defeating the Washington WildThings in game 5 on the road in Pennsylvania.

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(AHJ Photography)

As the team was celebrating their 4-2 victory, back home the city of Joliet and their fans were celebrating a new lease that will keep the Slammers in the city of Joliet… for now.

As Indy Ball Island reported, the city of Joliet had not renewed their lease with the Slammers and were possibly looking at other options for the stadium.  That changed on Tuesday when the city council approved a five-year lease to allow the Slammers to continue renting the city’s Joliet Route 66 Stadium.

At first glance, a five-year lease sounds fantastic for fans;  however, there are many opt-outs built into the new lease that weren’t there in the previous lease.

The drop in attendance has some city officials worried about cost and revenue.

The new lease now calls for the Slammers to pay $75,000 to the city annually. The previous amount was only $25,000.

And after multiple complaints about the over quality and experience, the new lease states that the “Team shall guarantee to the city, its fans and invitees, first class treatment with respect to the cleanliness of the operation and quality of the product, the efficiency and tastiness of the concession services and such friendliness befitting of a minor league professional team venue.”

Another added provision is that the city of Joliet can terminate the lease with the Slammers (with a minimum of one-year notice) if the city lands an affiliated minor league baseball team.

Slammer representatives and city officials now must meet monthly – instead of annually – “to discuss any other matters that pertain to the use and or lease of the stadium.”

For further details on the lease and specific complaints the city and fans had against the Slammers this year (including concessions, marketing, advertising, and overall fan experience), check out the article from the Joliet Patch “Hug Not Happy With Slammers Stadium Lease.”

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Frontier League Teams Up In The Air For Next Season

The end of the regular season for the Frontier League is just the beginning of some difficult decisions for various teams and cities.

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News has gotten out that The Traverse City Beach Bums are looking to sell and possibly become a team in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league, next year.

The Traverse Ticker reported that an official announcement may be coming this month once the season ends, but everyone with the team is being quiet for now.

“At this time we’re not ready to make an announcement about anything in reference to that,” says Joe Chamberlin, who is slated to become CEO of the Grand Rapids area-based team at the end of the 2018 season. “We’ve known [Beach Bums owners] John and Leslye Wuerfel for many years.”

Beach Bums Chief Financial Officer and General Manager Leslye Wuerfel did not respond to requests for comment on a possible sale.

Read the full article here: Beach Bums Sale Could Be Coming Soon. 

Another team that may be heading in the same direction is the Normal CornBelters.

Last year, the CornBelters discussed moving to the Northwoods League or the Prospects League, but ultimately returned for another season in the Frontier.

Now, they’re still open about leaving the Frontier League and are looking at all their options.

The Pantagraph reported:

As the CornBelters closed their ninth Frontier League season Sunday, team president Steve Malliet sees his franchise in much the same position it was a year ago.In other words, the Belters may have played their final Frontier League game.

“Just like last year, we always take a look at our options at the end of the year to see what we think is best for the organization moving forward,” Malliet said.

Read the full article here: Belters’ Chirino says farewell to Frontier League career

And finally, baseball in Joliet may be coming to an end.

In July, The Herald News reported that the city of Joliet was looking to expand the use of the stadium beyond baseball and it seems as if they were keeping their options open.

The Slammers, who are in a one-year lease with the city that ends this month, said that they need an agreement soon to stay in the Frontier League.

The Slammers’ attorney, Michael Hansen, spoke this week with both the full City Council and the council’s Stadium Committee, noting the team needs to assure the Frontier League that it has a place to play next year.

“We have obligations in the league to let them know that we will field a team by mid-September,” Hansen said. “Time is of the essence.”

As of July when the issue was first brought to attention, it sounded as if the Slammers would be coming back.

Council member Michael Turk, a member of the Stadium Committee who has been asking the staff for status updates on lease negotiations, said he believes the plan is to renew with the Slammers.

“I haven’t heard that we are looking at anybody but the Slammers,” Turk said.

But the city and Slammers so far have not begun negotiations, he said.

“Once we see what they’re looking at, and they see what we’re looking at, I expect it will go pretty quickly,” he said.

Read the full article here: Joliet Slammers prod city on lease negotiations 

Even with the Slammers in the playoffs for the third consecutive season, it appears as though no agreement has been reached (at least not one that has been officially released to the press).

With three teams (so far) that may not be returning for the 2019 season, the Frontier League could possibly be in for changes that affect play for next summer and beyond.

If an odd number of teams leave, will the Road Warriors/Frontier Greys team be back in action?

Will there be any new teams planning to join the league in the upcoming seasons?

Once the playoffs come to an end, I’m sure answers – and probably more questions – will arise.

UPDATE (9/18) The Joliet Slammers and the city of Joliet have agreed on a new five-year lease. Read all the information HERE.