Wingnuts future unclear as city tries to attract MLB affiliated team

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s championship Wednesday.

“It is going to be a good matchup,” said Wichita Wingnuts General Manager Josh Robertson.

Robertson can’t wait to square off with the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

“We would love to get back at them,” said Robertson. “They beat us here on our field in 2012 and last year in the championship.”

This Wingnuts team is no stranger to winning. It’s the fifth championship game they’ve been to in the last six years.

“We have only one of those to speak of and that’s the 2014 championship ring,” said Robertson.

The Wingnuts, a team in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball League, has held down the fort in Lawrence Dumont Stadium since the MLB affiliated Wranglers left after 2007.

“The baseball that we put out here on the field is every bit as good as what we had when I was here for the 8 years with the Wranglers,” said Robertson. “I will promise you that.”

The city has been open about luring in another affiliated team by building a brand new stadium, hoping to break ground at the end of the 2018 season.

Back in June Mayor Jeff Longwell was clear about that option.

“As we start down the design path and sign a team, we will let that team help incorporate some of their ideas and thoughts into the new stadium,” Longwell said on June 21.

But Wingnuts are leased to play in Wichita through 2025, so what’s the future of the Wingnuts?

“There is no way for an affiliated club and the Wingnuts to coexist. It is either going to be the Wingnuts or an affiliated club and all of that is out of my hands,” said Robertson.

For Robertson and the Wingnuts that’s all up in the air.

“We haven’t sat down and discussed you know what the future of our staff and our team and what direction we are going to go,” he said.

He’s hoping the Wingnuts won’t be a footnote in the city’s rich history of baseball.

“My hope is that the Wingnuts stay and we get a new ball park downtown and the ball park can be an anchor point for a lot of the development the city wants to happen down here.”

Robertson said they’re guaranteed to play the 2018 season at Lawrence Dumont.

KSN has reached out to the city and council members multiple times over the last few days to find out next steps but they haven’t agreed to talk on camera or answer our questions.

Robertson said he’s trying to prepare for all possibilities including potentially playing on WSU’s field or moving to another city.


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