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Saturday, Aug 30th

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RailCats: U.S. Steel Yard needs upgrades

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Gary-SouthShore RailCats

After a decade, U.S. Steel Yard is starting to show its age, and the management of tenant Gary SouthShore RailCats (independent; American Association) wants to work with the city on improvements.

Gary is in the same situation as many other cities: tax revenues are down and city coffers are empty. And while the city has been punctual about meeting its contractual obligation regarding ballpark maintenance, what the RailCats are looking for -- a new scoreboard, new turf and drainage system to avoid flooding on the field -- officials make it clear they have no money for improvements outside the scope of the team's lease.

RailCats GM Kevin Spudic is facing the challenge of finding a way to pay for these improvements without any city assistance. Buying a scoreboard should be easy, to be blunt: prices are the lowest they've been in years, and we've talked to many, many GMs and owners who found that they will basically pay for themselves. The sod issue is different, though: that's a basic ballpark feature that can impact a game. One solution: besides working on a renewal of the U.S. Steel naming rights, selling naming rights to the field itself.

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