From 1993 to 1998, Parkersburg boasted a franchise in the Frontier League, an independent baseball league.
Now there is talk it could happen again.
That not only is big news, but it also is good news.
Some of my fondest memories of covering local sports involves home games and road trips with the Ohio Valley Redcoats, who not only served up a good brand of baseball, but also provided a great deal of entertainment.
More than anything else, the Redcoats gave our community a team everyone could get behind.
Community members didn't have to choose up sides like in high school sports - the Redcoats were our team.
A team that played its home games at Bennett Stump Field. That can't happen this time around. Not without some major improvements being made. One of the big drawbacks there was the lack of dressing rooms and shower facilities. Players had to come to the park in their uniforms. They had to leave the same way. That won't do.
Plus, the field is a good high school field, but that's all it is. If we are going to be serious about bringing a franchise here, we need a new ballpark. One that not only provides the players with adequate dressing facilities and dugouts, but also is fan friendly when it comes to seating and concessions.
The Redcoats made the most of what they had. The PA announcer was great. The music at the ballpark was entertaining. The between-innings contests were fun.
Frontier League Baseball is wholesome entertainment. As Harry Caray said, "You can't beat fun at the old ballpark.'' Yeah, Harry, you can. You can have more fun at a new ballpark.
If we're going to bring baseball back to Parkersburg, let's go all the way. Let's put the team in a facility in which we can all take pride. Let's get a number of local sponsors on board so that this is indeed the community's team.
There are those who live in any small town that always complain there is nothing to do. But they are the ones who usually aren't looking for anything to do. A baseball team would provide 40 or 50 nights of entertainment for the entire family.
Plus, you never know what is going to happen at an independent league game.
I remember the night Kentucky Rifles manager Johnny LeMaster kept interchanging his pitcher and his rightfielder. Every time the right fielder would come back into pitch, he would be given warmup tosses. A major rhubarb ensued, with a local fan making his way onto the field waving a rule book -to the cheers of the crowd.
I've seen past projects that would have been good for the city get bogged down because egos got in the way. Let's not let this happen. This is a great opportunity.
To quote that great modern-day American philosopher, Larry The Cable Guy, it's time to Git 'R Dun.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org