In just a few short years, Salina has gone from a town without any professional sports franchises to having three.
All of them bring something different to the table. The Liberty has expanded on the city and area’s interest in indoor football. The Saints are looking to revive basketball in Salina after the Kansas Cagerz had a pretty good run a decade ago. Now, the Salina Stockade is working to bring an interest in professional baseball.
The Stockade hosted just their third home game in 17 contests on the season on Monday night. The Stockade has just 11 home games all season in the Pecos League, due to scheduling conflicts at the always-busy Dean Evans Stadium. Still, the team has managed the road-heavy schedule well so far, posting a 7-10 mark after enduring a 12-game, nearly two-week road trip.
Those looking at the Stockade for the first time on Monday night probably came away disappointed, as the visiting Topeka Train Robbers scored nine runs across the first two innings and rolled to a 15-3 win in a game that was never that competitive. Not to make excuses for the Stockade, but the team had just wrapped a four-game series in Santa Fe, NM, on Sunday night, and drove all night to get back to Salina to play Topeka on Monday. Rumors were that some of the players had not slept.
The players are working to keep a dream of playing in the big leagues alive. All of the players have exhausted their collegiate eligibility, and an age limit puts a clock on how long a player has to try and get the attention of a bigger independent league team, such as those in the American Association, which includes the Wichita Wingnuts and the Kansas City T-Bones.
The Stockade should have a better showing on Wednesday, and again this weekend. The Stockade hosts Topeka on Wednesday, and then entertains the Great Bend Boom on Saturday and Sunday. All games start at 7pm at Dean Evans Stadium.
Tickets cost $6, and the franchise has the approval of the Salina City Commission to sell beer at the ballpark. There’s no in-your-face promotions just yet. It’s a great chance to spend some time at the ballpark and relax, while watching two teams featuring players that are giving this potential last shot at a dream everything they have.
While over three-quarters of the team’s slate will be on the road, Salina is getting a taste of professional baseball this summer. Give the team a chance, and see if Salina can add a summertime tradition like other communities in Kansas have.