What would have to happen? This used to be my most dreaded question to hear. It usually came from one of the Zimmers, one of the owners of the radio stations, where I work. It was usually followed with, "to increase revenue," "to see more clients" or "to get more listeners." If that question came up in a meeting, you better have an answer. So today, I find myself asking that same question, just a different subject. "What would have to happen, for Sikeston and the surrounding area to come to a Bootheel Bombers minor league baseball game?"
For about three years I have worked on this project. When I was first approached about helping bring a minor league to Sikeston, I thought this would be something that Sikeston would love to have. I mean our most successful sports program at Sikeston High School for the past seven years has been the baseball team. Go to a Little League game on any given night and you will see practically half of Sikeston there watching games. In the process, as I have been out in the community talking to people about the team I have heard great excitement. People have told me how excited they were that this team was coming and couldn't wait to see a game. So it's been a little surprising to me to see a handful of people at the games and sometimes less than a handful.
As I try to understand why no one is coming to support your local team, I hear comments like, "well, I didn't know we had a team." Really? It's talked about on the radio; our local newspaper, the Standard Democrat has given us excellent coverage. KFVS talks about every game and KFVS was live from our first game during their news at 5 and 6. The Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce has had articles in two monthly newsletters, it's been talked about at Chamber luncheons and it's on the Chamber's web site. There are schedules at various businesses around town, including the YMCA, Pizza Inn and The House of Color, just to name a few. You haven't heard of the team? Really?
One of my favorite things to hear is, "Well, maybe if you had more local players on the team people would come to the games." Matt Bucker, Oran. Reif Tucker, Portageville. Adam Riley, Cape Girardeau. Jamie Puckett, Sikeston. How many more local players do we need to have? This isn't your local legion team. This is not your local high school team. This is a minor league baseball team, which means we try to find the best players from wherever. In addition to the above, we have young men from Mississippi, Florida, Colorado and even two from Venezuela. They have come here to play ball for your team. To give something Sikeston can be proud of to have in their community. How do you think these young men feel about Sikeston, when they play in Farmington, Mo., in front of 600 plus fans and then come home to about 70, half of which are from the other team's town. I've never heard anyone say, "I would go to a Cardinal baseball game, if they had more players from St. Louis on the team." (Yes, I know that is major league baseball and there is a difference, but I am sure you know where I am coming from.)
These young men have played some excellent baseball. Recently, Brent Telano pitched nine innings, allowing one run. The Bombers beat the number 2 team in the league that day, Union City, 2 to 1. The next day, Dan Robbins pitched nine innings, allowing only 2 runs. Unfortunately, we lost to the number 1 team in the league, Farmington, 2 to 1. Two great back-to-back games and you missed it. This is baseball at its best. No high-priced players. No stadiums so large you could lose your entire family in the crowd. Just young men playing baseball, hoping for a chance to someday play the next level. Hitting with wood bats. (I prefer the klunk of wood compared to the ding of metal and I know I am not alone.)
If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times, "there is nothing to do in Sikeston" or "Sikeston has nothing to offer in the way of entertainment." Well, here is your chance to be entertained. Here is your chance to sit back, relax and enjoy a good game of baseball, played the way it was meant to be played.
So Sikeston, I ask you, what would have to happen? Attached is a schedule of the remaining home games. Now you know when they are. Now you know we have local players. Come show them Sikeston's enthusiasm for the sport they play.
July 19 - Farmington, Mo. @ Sikeston, 7 p.m.
July 20 - Farmington, Mo. @ Sikeston, 7 p.m.
July 28 - Union City, Tenn. @ Sikeston, 7 p.m.
July 30 - Union City, Tenn. @ Sikeston, 7 p.m.
Aug. 4 - Farmington, Mo. @ Sikeston, 7 p.m.