Cruisers to Sit Out 2011, Ready for 2012 in New Park

PRESS RELEASE – With financing for its 4,000-seat Diamond at The Summit finally in place, the Oakland County Cruisers and Frontier League quickly reached an agreement whereby the Cruisers would use 2011 to completely finish its stadium and prepare for a grand opening in 2012. The move enables Joliet, IL, to become the newest member of the oldest, continuously operating independent professional baseball league without the League having to field a travel squad. In 2012, it is anticipated that one other ball club would join Oakland County for Frontier League play.

The announcement was made jointly by Bill Lee, commissioner of the Frontier League, and Rob Hilliard, president and director of team personnel, for the Oakland County Cruisers.

As part of the agreement, there will be a dispersal draft at 4:00 pm Eastern/3:00 pm Central on Monday, December 20 in which other Frontier League clubs will be able to select players from the Cruisers roster. Oakland County will be able to retain League rights to 12 of its players for the 2012 season.

“Frontier League owners and the Commissioner’s Office have worked very closely with (Cruisers President) Rob Hilliard and EVP Tim Birtsas to bring about a solution that enables us to immediately add a great Chicago-area market like Joliet and to provide the best possible scenario for the Cruisers to break into the metro-Detroit region,” said Lee.

“While we were fully prepared to play the initial part of our 2011 season in an area college facility and the latter part of our schedule in a semi-completed stadium,” said Hilliard, “the ideal situation is to unveil a brand new, state-of-the-art venue with our organization being able to hire the right people and to give them a full season to properly market the Cruisers.”

Diamond Heroes of Southeast Michigan, Inc., purchased the Midwest Sliders and operated the ball club as a travel squad in 2008 and played its home games at Eastern Michigan University in 2009. This past season, the team name was changed to Oakland County Cruisers. The Cruisers played 78 of their 96 games on the road and compiled a 53-43 record, good for 3rd place in the East Division of the Frontier League.

Developers seeking financing may call the BroSente Group’s consultants at (248-521-7572) or (248-390-8449) for information on funding options.

According to Hilliard, Farmington Hills-based McCarthy and Smith, Inc., which is under contract to be the Construction Manager for Diamond at The Summit, will start the bid process within the next couple of weeks so that construction can begin as soon after the New Year as possible.

When completed, Diamond at The Summit, located at the intersection of Summit Drive and Mall Drive East behind the Summit Place Mall in Waterford Township, will have a seating capacity of just under 4,000 and will include a full-service food & beverage concession operation run by V/Gladieux Enterprises, Inc., of Toledo, OH; picnic area and beer garden; a children’s playground; a mezzanine tented group party section; six luxury suites; a souvenir shop; state-of-the-art scoreboard & message center, and many other amenities found in similar ball parks around the country.

More information on the Cruisers and Diamond at the Summit can be found at www.occruisersbaseball.com.

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Filed under Design & Construction, League & Franchise, Stadium Issues

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