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Wichita Bids Adieu to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

Wichita Bids Adieu to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

The banging and clanging of metal tools striking against steel seats echoed throughout Lawrence-Dumont Stadium; the ping and pangs were loud enough to even disrupt the ghost of  Ray“Hap” Dumont, who convinced the City of Wichita to build the stadium to host his semi-amateur baseball in 1935. Many still claim that his presence can be felt since his death at his office in the building 46-years-ago.

On this day, fans were allowed to grab a piece of history or a slice of childhood memories with chair sale. The cash-only event allowed fans of Wichita baseball to purchase seats for as low as $5 for the red seats, $20 for the red/tan seats, and $35 for the blue seats. Fans were encouraged to dig into their toolboxes to be able to remove a seat, or even a row of four,  from its foundation on the main concourse.

A total of 250 seats were sold on Saturday according to Troy Houtman, Director of Parks and Recreation. The rest will be given donated to local universities, community colleges, and high schools in the area.  A few of the seats will be on display at various bus stops, art galleries, and trendy neighborhoods in town.

After the stadium purge of seats, the “Farewell to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium” began featuring a collection of food trucks, a celebrity softball game, movie screenings, and a firework show.  It was a proper send off to a facility that has been the catalyst of copious amounts of memories. Within a few weeks, it will be razed to make way for a new Triple-A ballpark that hopes to create a new tradition of its own beginning in the 2020 season

“Generations have come and gone with Lawrence-Dumont Stadium,” said Kevin Jenks, NBC General Manager/Tournament Director. “Members of the Lawrence and Dumont families attended and it’s hard for them. The NBC has a great relationship with both families. Charley Lawrence and Hap Dumont are responsible for the stadium being built in 1934. Its impact isn’t felt just by those families, LDS has contributed memories for thousands of fans and players over the years.”

The scoreboard will be donated to a local high school, it’s lighting possibly salvaged if it can’t find a new home, and other parts auctioned off to the highest bidder. All remnants of the stadium’s former tenant the Wichita Wingnuts were auctioned off a few weeks ago. Pretty soon there will be nothing but peanut shells that need to be swept up from the building’s main concourse.

The city will pay as much as $83 million for the redevelopment of the property that will also include a new pedestrian bridge that will cross the river, a three-tier building for retail and office space, and other infrastructure. The construction will begin in April of next year and when finish has a capacity for 10,000 fans with fixed seats and social areas.

The NBC will also utilize the stadium for one week during the summer for its amateur World Series while the yet-t0-be-named Triple-A ballclub, currently operating in New Orleans, is on the road. The new stadium will also be home to an NBC museum and office space. Next season, NBC World Series will be held at Eck Stadium on the campus of Wichita State University during the construction.

“We’re excited to play at Eck Stadium”,  added Jenks who said that more teams have inquired about participating next season in the tournament. “Its amenities are great for our fans and our teams will like the pre-game prep/practice area much more. The only challenge is going through the “get ready” process of moving a new facility for the first time in 85 years. The operations staff at WSU has been professional and accommodating to our unique needs of a two-week event.”

The city hopes to attract 888,400 visitors to the baseball facility that can also be used 10 days a year for charitable and community events. A ballpark village with an outfield entrance will be situated along the river with businesses hoping to fill in the south end of the stadium. Mayor Jeff Longwell said at the official announcement that Arkansas River has been vastly overlooked.

“We have literally turned our backs on this river for decades and decades and decades and now we are embracing the river as the great amenity it should be.”

The ballpark would be completed by March 15, 2020, while the team commits to a 20-year lease with an initial rent payment of $350,000 annually, before it is adjusted to inflation every five years.

It is indeed an end of an era in Wichita; the old ballpark was once serviceable as a home to minor league baseball, but wouldn’t be able to hack it anymore under its current conditions. Although full of nostalgia for many who remember their first time watching a game underneath its old grandstand, the city is due for a modern ballpark to satisfy the appetites and empty the pockets who now attend the game as more of a social event.

The over the eight-decade run of LDS is a strong testament to its stubbornness and unwillingness to cede to more modern ballparks, but at the dawn of the next decade, there will be a state of the art ballpark offering perhaps everything architects in the past have overlooked when designing similar facilities.

“It is a bittersweet situation,” added Houtman. The current Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is 84-years-old and it has so many memories to folks here in Wichita, but the infrastructure is so outdated and the mounting costs of repairs and upgrades have made it fiscally impossible to renovate or sustain in its current state.  It is my hope that the folks from Wichita will make many new memories and experience at the new stadium.”

That feeling is also shared by Jenks who knows that it was inevitable to build a new stadium for both a minor league team and amateur tournament.

“All that said, a new stadium is desperately needed. It should have happened 10-15 years ago. The next generation of NBC fans will grow up in a beautiful facility. Plus, the NBC museum will showcase our tradition, history, and nostalgia that so many people have helped build.”

In an age were many ballparks are being knocked down after less than 25 years, an 84-year-old ballpark is something to truly appreciate. However, it is time for a new ballpark that hopes to create as many memories as Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. If there was ever a city waiting for such a moment, it is definitely Wichita, Kansas.

by | Oct 19, 2018 |

 

County OKs tax district for baseball stadium, riverfront development

Kansas High Schooler Will Play For USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced the 36 players named to the 2015 USA Baseball Women’s National Team on Tuesday, following a multi-event selection process approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Trials will be held May 22 to 24, 2015, with the final 18-player USA Baseball Women’s Pan American Games Team being named following the event. Ryleigh Buck of Wellington, KS is one of the players selected to the team. In March, she’ll travel with the team to the Dominican Republic to play in a qualifier and represent USA Baseball. Ryleigh will then have a chance to be selected to play in the Pan Am Games.

“Finalizing Trials selections is always tough and this year proved to be particularly difficult with the level of talent we saw at the inaugural Women’s National Open,” Women’s National Team Director, Ashley Bratcher, said. “We are extremely pleased with the group of women we have coming into Trials in May and look forward to the next phase of preparation for this summer’s Pan American Games.”

Players were named to the Trials from the 2014 USA Baseball Women’s National Team Identification Series, the 2015 USA Baseball Women’s National Open, as well as a petition process and discretionary selections.

The roster is comprised of athletes from 13 different states, as well as an athlete from Washington, D.C. California is the most represented state with nine athletes named to the Trials roster, followed by Texas with six and Florida with four. Illinois and South Carolina each have a trio of athletes competing for a roster spot, while Georgia and Washington each send a pair of players. Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia will each have a representative at the Trials.

The 2015 USA Baseball Women’s National Team will be managed by Jonathan Pollard who led the program to the silver medal as manager at the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup in Miyazaki, Japan in 2014. Pollard, a resident of Woburn, Mass., also won the silver medal with the Women’s National Team at the 2012 IBAF Women’s World Cup as the pitching coach.

Joining Pollard in the dugout is pitching coach Matt Weagle who served in the same role for the silver-medal winning 2014 USA Baseball Women’s National Team. A native of Charlton, Mass., Weagle guided a pitching staff that posted a 2.07 ERA in 65 and one-third innings pitched last summer.

Off the field, the Women’s National Team is guided by director, Ashley Bratcher. Kim Moncel returns to the Women’s National Team as the certified athletic trainer, and Cameron Harris will join the team as the press officer for the Pan American Games.

For more information on the Women’s National Team, please visit USABaseball.com.

The 36-player USA Baseball Women’s National Team Trials roster is as follows:

Name, Position, Hometown
Veronica Alvarez, C, Miami, Fla.
Gabrielle Augustine, RHP, Palmerton, Pa.
Susanne Boden, LHP, Atlanta, Ga.
Ryleigh Buck, IF/RHP, Wellington, Kan.
Cayla Calderon, OF/IF, Canyon Country, Calif.
Samantha Cobb, OF/RHP, Garland, Texas
Megan Dedrick, IF/RHP, Everett, Wash.
Eliza DeMers, IF/OF, Rochester, N.Y.
Caitlin Everett, OF, Sunnyvale, Texas
Riley Frisbie, RHP/C, Countryside, Ill.
Lauren Frost, IF/RHP, Eagle River, Alaska
Alex Fulmer, RHP, Little Mountain, S.C.
Tera Gainer, IF/OF, Tallahassee, Fla.
Veronica Gajownik, IF/RHP, Chuluota, Fla.
Brittany Gomez, OF, New Braunfels, Texas
Jade Gortarez, IF/RHP, Riverside, Calif.
Kayla Haberstich, RHP, Bartlett, Ill.
Tara Harbert, OF, Boulder, Colo.
Tamara Holmes, OF, Albany, Calif.
Lindsay Horwitz, RHP, Gurnee, Ill.
Sarah Hudek, LHP/OF, Sugar Land, Texas
Anna Kimbrell, C/RHP, Fort Mill, S.C.
Sydney Love-Baker, C, Washington, D.C.
Meaghan May, C, Spring, Texas
Stacy Piagno, RHP, St. Augustine, Fla.
Nicole Rivera, IF/RHP, Lakeside, Calif.
Cydnee Sanders, IF/RHP, Magnolia, Texas
Marti Sementelli, RHP, Sherman Oak, Calif.
Michelle Snyder, IF/RHP, Wenatchee, Wash.
Laura Trout, OF, Alexandria, Va.
Malaika Underwood, IF, San Diego, Calif.
Emily Grace White, RHP/OF, Marietta, Ga.
Kelsie Whitmore, OF/RHP, Temecula, Calif.
Donna Williams, RHP, Fremont, Calif.
Nichole Willis, C, Clovis, Calif.
Codee Yeske, IF/RHP, Lexington, S.C.

NBC Joins ABCA In Supporting MLB And USA Baseball Youth Arm Care Initiative

ABCA OFFICIALLY SUPPORTS PITCH SMART

The American Baseball Coaches Association board of directors votes unanimously

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball, Major League Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association announced on Tuesday that the ABCA is officially supporting USA Baseball and MLB’s joint youth arm care safety initiative, Pitch Smart. The announcement follows the ABCA’s board of directors unanimously voting in favor of supporting the initiative that was launched in late 2014.

“Major League Baseball is pleased that the ABCA has endorsed the Pitch Smart pitching safety program,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who received the 2015 ABCA Honor Award on January 4, 2015 at the ABCA Convention. “Keeping pitchers healthy should be a common goal of everyone in baseball. Pitch Smart is a great example of the entire baseball community, professional and amateur, coming together to make our game better.”

The Association is involved in numerous programs that promote the integrity of the profession and the development of the game of baseball, and, each January, the ABCA hosts the largest baseball convention in the world. Approximately 4,000 coaches attend the convention, which is held at various locations around the country. The 2015 iteration was attended by commissioner, Rob Manfred, as he continues to further engage the amateur baseball community.

“With its endorsement of Pitch Smart, it is clear that the American Baseball Coaches Association is making player health and safety a priority in everything it does,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “It is the support of the ABCA and other organizations that confirms our belief that baseball has united in protecting our young athletes.”

The ABCA is committed to the success and growth of baseball through youth baseball. In the past 12 years, thousands of young people have gone through ABCA sponsored youth clinics. Each year, several hundred young players attend ABCA clinics in Montgomery, Alabama; Lewiston, Idaho; and Grand Junction, Colorado.

“The ABCA is proud to endorse Pitch Smart along with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball,” said ABCA executive director, Craig Keilitz. “Education is one of our organization’s cornerstones and the health and safety of our young players is a major priority. Pitch Smart provides clear guidelines for our coaches, particularly those who are new to the profession, and we look forward to being involved in the further development of this initiative for years to come.”

The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 6,600 members represent all 50 states and 24 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, Junior College, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth.

About the American Baseball Coaches Association

Established in 1945, the American Baseball Coaches Association is the top professional association for amateur baseball coaches. Its over 6,600 members represent all 50 states and 24 countries. Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, Junior College, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth. The annual ABCA Convention hosts over 4,000 coaches and features the ABCA Clinics, Trade Show and other activities. The 72nd annual ABCA Convention will be held Jan. 7-10, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

About USA Baseball

USA Baseball is the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, World Cup and Pan Am teams (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 15U and 12U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year. USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. For more information, please visit USABaseball.com.

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