Archive for Friday, September 6, 2002

Wyandotte County lands minor league baseball team

September 6, 2002

In the wake of a threatened Major League Baseball strike, Kansas City, Kan., got word that a new minor league team is coming to town.

John Ehlert, president of the Duluth-Superior Dukes baseball club in Minnesota, one of 18 teams in the Northern League, announced Wednesday, Sept. 4, that the Dukes will relocate to Wyandotte County by the beginning of next season.

The move came as a surprise to several people familiar with the Northern League, but Ehlert had been looking at Northeast Kansas for more than a year.

Upon their arrival in Wyandotte County, the Dukes will be renamed and welcomed with a $12 million, 4,500-seat stadium in the 400-acre Village West district next to Kansas Speedway.

The new stadium is the ninth one built in the Northern League?s central division in the past few seasons. It will be located on northwest corner of State Avenue and 110th Street.

"We are excited to bring the affordable family fun that is Northern League Baseball to the Kansas City market," Ehlert said. "The family demographics of the area, its rich baseball heritage, the enthusiastic cooperation of the local government units and a robust business climate make this an exciting area. This move will further allow the Northern League to continue its steady growth as the pre-eminent independent baseball league in North America."

Affordable family fun is the foundation for minor leagues baseball. Several organizations conduct outrageous between-inning displays and encourage fan involvement. Ticket prices range from $5 to $9.50 and parking at the games will be free.

Northern League teams are independent from Major League Baseball and they function within the parameters of a $90,000 salary cap. Each Northern League team plays 90 games a year.

The Dukes will be renamed by the fans through a name-the-team contest. Details about the contest will be released soon.

For more about the team?s move to Wyandotte County, check the Thursday, Sept. 12 edition of the Sentinel.

For more about the Dukes? franchise log on to their Web site at www.kcnlbaseball.com.

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