O’FALLON, Mo. – Baseball was on the minds of many Thursday night in O’Fallon, Missouri.
City leaders honored the River City Rascals for winning their league championship last week. Later in the meeting, the council approved a lease with a new team to play where the Rascals used to play at Car Shield Field in O’Fallon.
The change came because the Rascals folded after this season ended.
The new incoming team is from the Prospect League, a summer league made up of all college players trying to showcase their skills to pro scouts. There are currently 12 teams in the league and the players all use wooden bats. The league includes multiple teams from this part of the country, including five from Illinois and two from Missouri.
The new O’Fallon team will be relocating from Hannibal.
The council unanimously approved the deal.
O`Fallon resident and community activist Arnie Dienoff opposed the move and made his feelings known with a thumbs down.
“I’m not opposed to the team. I’m opposed to the deal that was made,” Dienoff said. “It was a sweetheart deal. I would like to see more of a $300,000 lease agreement because they’re using it for the spring and summer months.”
The five-year lease with the city is for $125,000 a year, plus $10,000 annually in naming rights.
“We promised the folks in O’Fallon that we would have baseball in that stadium and we are standing up to that promise that we made to the O’Fallon residents,” said O’Fallon Mayor Bill Hennessy.
The team will start playing next summer. A name for the team has not yet been announced.
“What we want to do is to have the community come to the game and when they leave they can go back and say they had one of the best experiences they ever had watching baseball,” said Rick DeStefane, the new team’s owner.