ALTON, IL - A major announcement for the city of Alton. The metro-east city will soon be home to a new baseball team from the Prospect League. The team will start playing next year in Gordon Moore Park at Lloyd Hopkins Field.
“It`s incredibly exciting to have an opportunity to have that quality of athlete playing in our city,” said Alton Mayor Brant Walker talking about the new team from the Prospect League.
It`s a 60-game summer collegiate league where college players showcase their talents for Major League Baseball scouts. The players all use wooden bats and are not paid.
Walker says the team will bring a lot to Alton including an estimated economic impact of some $2-million dollars a year.
“One, it`s economic impact, which we need in our community and every community needs, it`s great entertainment not only for the citizens of Alton but our entire region and it`s a perception changer,” said Walker.
The team will start play in Alton in the summer of 2021 and is the league`s 13th team.
The league has teams in five states including the Hoots in O`Fallon, Missouri.
That team was announced last September and will start to play this summer at CarShield Field, that`s where the River City Rascals used to play before the team dissolved.
The Hoots used to play in Hannibal but we`re told flooding last year devastated the field there.
Mayor Walker says upgrades have already been done at Lloyd Hopkins Field.
But he tells us more are coming including a new video scoreboard, locker rooms and adding some deck seating.
“We need to modernize the field to get it up to I guess what you would call the standard that they`re looking forward to playing in,” said Walker.
Mayor Walker says the team signed a 10-year lease with the city and will pay the city $16,000 a year to use the facility.
The team does not have a name yet.
We`re told there will be a name the team contest that the public can get involved with starting in the next month or so.