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Rumor: Cornbelters to move to collegiate league

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isuquinndog
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Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:53 pm

From Randy a few weeks ago:



And yesterday:

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Adunk33
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Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:03 am

Im thinking one of the main draws to move to a college summer league would be to keep ISU/heartland players in town for the summer.

Do other college summer league teams have their own stadium like the Cornbelters?

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TIMMY
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Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:50 am

Some of the teams in the Northwoods League do. That's all I'm familiar with. Are they not drawing fans in Normal? Seems like college league could make sense. Much shorter season and lower overhead.
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isuquinndog
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Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:19 am

Average about 2k a game
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MadBird
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Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:34 am

Adunk33 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:03 am
Im thinking one of the main draws to move to a college summer league would be to keep ISU/heartland players in town for the summer.

Do other college summer league teams have their own stadium like the Cornbelters?
Like Timmy, I'm most familiar with Northwoods League. In Madison, the team plays in a municipally owned stadium (that was also used for previous Class A baseball teams), but the club has invested quite a bit to "upgrade" it. It has extensive refreshment stands, decks with refreshments, etc. etc. It is quite a place to see a ball game, especially if the "fan experience" in terms of food and beverage is important to you.

St. Cloud also plays in a muni stadium previously used for HS games, but which has also been remodeled altho not as extensively as Madison. I think a few of these teams play in stadiums that were formerly used for Class A teams back in the day, and lots of muni stadiums that have been upgraded with at least grandstands and refreshments if not fancy scoreboards and so forth.

https://northwoodsleague.com/madison-mallards/aboutus/

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TIMMY
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Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:11 pm

MadBird wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:34 am
Adunk33 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:03 am
Im thinking one of the main draws to move to a college summer league would be to keep ISU/heartland players in town for the summer.

Do other college summer league teams have their own stadium like the Cornbelters?
Like Timmy, I'm most familiar with Northwoods League. In Madison, the team plays in a municipally owned stadium (that was also used for previous Class A baseball teams), but the club has invested quite a bit to "upgrade" it. It has extensive refreshment stands, decks with refreshments, etc. etc. It is quite a place to see a ball game, especially if the "fan experience" in terms of food and beverage is important to you.

St. Cloud also plays in a muni stadium previously used for HS games, but which has also been remodeled altho not as extensively as Madison. I think a few of these teams play in stadiums that were formerly used for Class A teams back in the day, and lots of muni stadiums that have been upgraded with at least grandstands and refreshments if not fancy scoreboards and so forth.

https://northwoodsleague.com/madison-mallards/aboutus/
The Madison owners also own other teams in the Northwoods League. Kenosha, Green Bay, Wisconsin Rapids...Probably more. They seem to have it figured out. Might not be a bad move for Normal to go that route.
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isuquinndog
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Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:42 pm

I think they will draw even less than they do now if they go to a college league.
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Adunk33
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Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:48 pm

isuquinndog wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:42 pm
I think they will draw even less than they do now if they go to a college league.
You could be right. Depending on what league they would be in, they could end up seeing top college prospects in Normal. I would rather watch games with a bunch of guys who will likely get drafted than whatever the Cornbelters is. The BEST thing that could happen to the Cornbelters is to become a minor league affiliate for the Cardinals or Cubs. I'm sure there are rules against it that I'm unaware of. I'd probably be more likely to go to a Cornbelters game if it was showcasing some of Americas top college ball players than go to their frontier league games.

Also... while typing this I had a thought that I hadn't had before. If the Cornbelters changes leagues or whatever and decides they want to rebrand, it'd be very difficult. Their entire stadium is built around this Corn thing.

MadBird
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Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:17 pm

isuquinndog wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:42 pm
I think they will draw even less than they do now if they go to a college league.
The two Northwoods League franchises I'm familiar with, Madison and St. Cloud, promote the crap out it. Madison is really a unique situation in that league I think for some reason in terms of attendance and community interest, but they average maybe 5-6000/game? St. Cloud closer to 1500. There is some kind of promotion "night" every night at both. Giveaways, corporate sponsored nights, special guests (Madison has had Pete Rose, Dick Allen, professional wrestlers, Chris Farley bobble head night, etc. etc. St. Cloud had first pitch tossed out by Tony Oliva of the Twins, they had Hacksaw Jim Duggan this summer). Contests. Madison designates a guy on the opposition as the "strike-out" batter or something, and if he strikes out during the game beers are half price till the next inning.

So, I'm sayin', it's not all about the baseball in some of the Northwoods League cities, you know? Something to do, entertainment, night out with the family or with the "gang", giveaways, total party atmosphere, etc. Can't speak to say, Thunder Bay Ontario or Willmar Minnesota for example, it might be all about the ball in some of them.

So, I'm not sure Normal would be a fit for some of what it seems to take to make a successful Northwoods League franchise. Timmy's right, the Madison "syndicate" runs several teams, now runs the downtown Madison soccer stadium and promotes concerts and food cart nights and others stuff there, they are "professional promoters".

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TIMMY
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Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:55 pm

Quinn the Frontier League was a miserable failure up here. I saw it first hand. We were a host family for the pitching coach for a summer. The Northwoods League is a big hit. Hard to get a ticket. A few local kids on the roster. Like Madbird said crazy promotions. Fireworks. And nothing brings out the families in Wisconsin like beer.
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isuquinndog
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Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:35 am

TIMMY wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:55 pm
Quinn the Frontier League was a miserable failure up here. I saw it first hand. We were a host family for the pitching coach for a summer. The Northwoods League is a big hit. Hard to get a ticket. A few local kids on the roster. Like Madbird said crazy promotions. Fireworks. And nothing brings out the families in Wisconsin like beer.
I'm not saying it's not. Trust me, I saw the team first hand too. But they had fireworks this year. Thirsty Thursday, buy one get one nights. None of this is new or something only the Northwoods League does. It's telling the community about those events and yelling louder than all the other events in town. Heck, how many people knew that a Cornbelter became the all time hits leader in Frontier League history this year?

I'd rather watch guys that may get drafted too, but the Bloomington hockey team is trying that it's failing badly. They are in the top junior league in the country (https://www.ushl.com/news_article/show/929260), where guys are getting drafted to the NHL in the top 10 picks. But they can't get 500 people to show up. I know it's hockey, but still. Sure, none of those player play for Bloomington, but they are still in the league.

I just don't know if this move is going to help or hurt the Cornbelters. I'm leaning towards hurt.
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isuquinndog
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Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:36 pm

So more than a rumor. Normal has asked for two week extension to deadline to decide.

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MadBird
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Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:48 pm

isuquinndog wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:36 pm
So more than a rumor. Normal has asked for two week extension to deadline to decide.

Read an article someplace about Northwoods League expansion, they have a team in Hudson, WI coming in, and found another in Kokomo IN, so two for balance. Another city was named as wanting to get in, but they needed another one so could add two. Wonder if that's the slot for Normal? Will try to find the article again.

Edit: Here it is, Mitchell, So.Dakota looking for an "expansion partner".

https://wsau.com/news/articles/2018/jul ... o-indiana/

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