The Casper Cutthroats (summer collegiate; Mountain Collegiate Baseball League) made their debut last night at Mike Lansing Field to a big crowd -- which may attract MiLB interest.
As you'll recall, Mike Lansing Field was available this summer after the Casper Ghosts (rookie; Pioneer League) were purchased by the Monfort brothers (owners of the Colorado Rockies) and moved to Grand Junction for the 2012 season. That gap in the market was filled by the summer-collegiate team, brought in with the cooperation of city officials.
The move had a strong start last night: the team ran out of general-admission seats and drew a good crowd. That's both good and bad for the Cutthroats owners. A strong Casper franchise could raise the profile of the entire Mountain Collegiate Baseball League, a four-team circuit that's struggled to break through in recent years. On the other hand, lots of fans at Mike Lansing Field will certainly draw the continued attention of the Helena Brewers (rookie; Pioneer League) ownership. Earlier this year H-Brewers reps visited Mike Lansing Field after the departure of the Ghosts, and while it was too late for the team to look at a move, it's no secret there's little prospect for growth in Helena: the ballpark, while quaint, is small and unlikely to be expanded or improved any time in the future. The Ghosts were a better draw than the H-Brewers, in any case. And the city has planned for Minor League Baseball to return: the city spent $20,000 on Cutthroats equipment funded from the $200,000 exit fee paid by the Ghosts ownership to break the team's lease. If a Pioneer League team does move to the ballpark, the equipment would be sold; if not, ownership of the MCBL team would repay the city.
RELATED STORIES: Pioneer League back to Casper?; New for 2012: Grand Junction Rockies; Grand Junction approves Ghosts lease; announcement expected today; Upgrades on tap for Grand Junction's Suplizio Field; MiLB to follow?; Rockies owners buy Casper Ghosts
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