Addition of two teams, loss of one from college-level, summer, wood-bat baseball league will prompt schedule changes, playoffs revision
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An expanded and revised MINK League once more will stage its annual All-Star Game event in Chillicothe, Mo., next summer, league representatives decided during their annual late-fall league meeting last weekend.
In what proved to be a whirlwind session Saturday and Sunday at the Argosy Casino in north Kansas City, two clubs – one from Iowa and one from Kansas – were added to the college-level, wood-bat summer baseball league’s roster, as expected.
“We are thrilled about the two new additions to the league,” says Ky Turner, league president, of the new inclusion of the Des Moines, Iowa-area’s Peak Prospects and an as-yet unnamed club from the southeast Kansas town of Chanute.
“Mickey Mantle played his first-ever professional baseball game at Katy Park in Chanute, where that team will be playing. Des Moines will be bringing a brand new stadium into the league.
“We are excited to welcome both teams and communities into the league.”
However, in an unanticipated development, the Ozark Generals team – a league member since 2006 – bailed out. Rusty Aton, largely the 1-man-gang manager and head coach of the Generals throughout their time in the league, informed the other league members of his decision during the course of the weekend.
With league officials having expected to add the incoming Des Moines Peak Prospects team – which the Chillicothe Mudcats played three times last summer – to the North Division and the Chanute team – without a team nickname until early December – to the South half of a 10-teams league, Ozark’s sudden decision to depart forced those plans to change and created significantly-problematic scheduling issues.
According to Turner, general manager of the league-champion St. Joseph Mustangs, the Iowa team still will become a North Division member, but that division will stay at four teams – Chillicothe, Clarinda (Iowa), and St. Joseph being the others.
Sedalia, originally a South Division member before being switched to the North when the Jefferson City team came aboard two years ago, will revert to the South, Turner reports, allowing it and nearby Jeff City to exploit a natural geographic rivalry, Turner related to the C-T.
Those two and Chanute will join holdovers Nevada and Joplin as a 5-teams division.
2020 MINK League play will kick off no later than May 29, 2020, Turner notes.
As for the MINK League All-Star Game’s second visit to Chillicothe in the showcase contest’s sixth year of existence, it will take place on “Chuck” Haney Field at “June” Shaffer Memorial Park Stadium on Thursday, July 9, president Turner announced.
While the evening clash between squads representing each division again will be preceded by a “Home Run Derby” contest, for the second-straight year – and contrary to the event’s 2017 staging here, it will not involve a “scouting combine” session earlier in the day, although the league will invite scouts to attend the game itself, according to second-year league commissioner Ron Rodriguez.