A new minor league baseball team is set to make its way to Chanute this summer.
MINK League Baseball owner Titus Bond of Funnin Hard Entertainment and the City of Chanute signed a deal Oct. 24 giving the team a $5,000 lease to play at the historic Lindblad Stadium in Katy Park from May 20 to Aug. 7. And the start date will not interfere with American Legion Baseball, which also plays during the summer.
Bond said there will be no issue between the American Legion and the MINK baseball schedules.
“Our American Legion does their scheduling at a later time than we do,” Bond said. “So basically, the Legion will be able to fill in out of 70 dates available, we’re only going to play 24 of them. So there will be 46 days available for Legion to schedule in on.”
Taking into consideration how flooding and normal wear and tear has impacted Katy Park — though Bond said the park is perfect for his minor league operation — Bond will utilize his resources to upgrade the park in an effort to standardize the facility.
“We have to play in a facility that is at the standards of the league,” Bond continued. “These are very high-caliber baseball players, so we’ll take whatever steps we need for the playing surface.”
Some other steps Bond will take include installing additional seating, new fencing, and premiere seating, among other potential additions to spruce up the park, though the team will not be able to change the field or the concrete grandstands. Bond said the park upgrades will be finished before the American Legion and the MINK leagues begin play.
When the league starts in the summer, MINK will play a 45-game schedule with 24 of those games in Chanute.
The new baseball league is a wooden bat collegiate summer league that will boast nine teams from the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas (hence the name MINK). According to the league’s website, the college summer wood bat league will operate just as a minor league baseball league — including having a full-time staff, mascots, promotions and merchandise — and it isn’t typical amateur baseball. Operating as a small-scale, minor league team, the college-age players won’t be paid, and those players will retain NCAA eligibility; the league is hopeful to place the visiting players with foster families in the community.
As close to a professional sports franchise that some towns can get, the league will also have fan activities, full concessions and music.
“The MINK League is extremely excited about a team in Chanute,” MINK League Commissioner Ron Rodriguez said. “Anyone who knows baseball knows the baseball history in this area. Exciting baseball in Chanute is just half a year away and the league could not be more excited about joining this great community.”
Bond said he expects more than 1,500 fans a game. And those fans can expect the summer’s slate of games to be finalized early this month.
The MINK League started in 1910 with six teams and cut ties with its MLB affiliation in 1913. The league is now affiliated with National Baseball Congress.
With the team set to start in just six months, Chanute’s new team still doesn’t have a team name. But fans can be a part of the selection of the team name by going to the local team’s website at chanutebaseball.com.
The team’s name will be announced in the middle of this month.
“We couldn’t be more excited to become a huge part of the Chanute community,” Bond commented. “We have quickly fallen in love with this community and Historic Katy Stadium and we can’t wait to deliver our unique form of baseball and entertainment.”