ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene locals have been discussing the possibility of a semi-professional baseball team for two years. It seems that the future team has found a spot to play, but there is a catch.
In 2021, Scott Kirk’s first step before announcing the possibility of an Abilene semi-pro baseball team was to ensure that he would be able to sell beer at the Rose Park baseball field, which was the first venue he had in mind. He planned to renovate the field after obtaining permission for beer sales from the city, with the first pitch scheduled for May 2023. However, he discovered that it would cost more than a million dollars.
Fast forward to November 2023, and he is ready to make that announcement again. The team will be using Walt Driggers Field for their games in partnership with McMurry University.
He mentioned that he is aware that beer sales won’t be allowed at McMurry. Nevertheless, he is searching for the team’s own venue where they can sell beer and leave a legacy for future generations.
“We think the potential of baseball in Abilene, as well as other markets, is really contingent about having your own place to play where you control the schedule. And the other events you have. Also, you want to create an area. It’s a business, and it’s a development. It’s a real estate development, where it’s not just this, not just the venue itself, but the businesses you can put around it, whether it’s restaurants, offices, apartments, those sorts of things,” Kirk explained.
The Mid-America League has announced a 68-game schedule that will run from late May to early August, followed by playoffs to determine the league champion. The league has partnered with Zachry Associates from Abilene to develop the league logo and branding for the teams joining.
“Finally have done it, we will be playing in the 2024 Mid-America League, a league that is based in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma. Abilene will be one of six teams in the inaugural season, and we plan to expand to ten by 2025,” Kirk shared.
When it comes down to it, Kirk believes that baseball is not just about the game, but also about building a strong community.
“It’s not so much baseball, it is community. There are other people who are bigger baseball fans than I am. But mine is it’s about creating an atmosphere, where 2,000 people who normally wouldn’t be together that evening get together and spend an evening together. It’s about creating community within our city,” Kirk said. “Where people come out and enjoy themselves. Sit with their friends and neighbors, even people they may not even know that they become friends at the ballpark. And if we can do that, you know, you think, ‘hey, maybe Abilene and the world’s a little bit better place than it was before.'”
The inaugural pitch is scheduled for May 2024. He also mentioned that he is looking for a team name and hopes to finalize it by the end of November. Those interested in proposing a team name can send an email to email@example.com. The winning entry will be awarded a lifetime season ticket.