Aviators Take Over Marinelli Field, Foresters Will Play On the Road

Rockford Aviators Primary LogoRockford Foresters LogoThe indy pro Rockford Aviators (formerly Rockford RiverHawks) (Frontier League) have signed a one-year lease agreement (with one-year options for the next four years) with the Rockford (IL) Park District to operate Marinelli Field.  As a result, the summer collegiate Rockford Foresters (Midwest Collegiate League), which have leased the facility for the past three seasons, are out and will play on the road in 2013.

The Aviators will still play their regular home games at Aviator Stadium (formerly Road Ranger Stadium) in Loves Park, but the team will use Marinelli to host baseball clinics, high school baseball games and tournaments.

Foresters owner Joe Stefani does not appear happy about being pushed out of Marinelli and made a few clarifying comments about the situation at the bottom of this story appearing on the Rockford Register Star’s website (rrstar.com). Read more here.


Filed under Lease & Contracts, Stadium Issues

9 responses to “Aviators Take Over Marinelli Field, Foresters Will Play On the Road

  1. in the know

    Nice job by the Aviators with a huge assist from the overpaid Park District Director getting rid of the competition. The battle over fans was probably a minor issue. Eliminating another baseball team from going after the same corporate sponsors and groups is huge for the Riverhawks oops I mean Aviators. Not paying the rent in a timely manner cracked the door open for them to lose their lease. Remember, Fair is the place we all went to see farm animals.

  2. sounds like someone is playing monopoly here ?

    • MikeG

      I don’t really see how this article has anything to do with the field lease? If the one tenant was not paying the lease, shouldn’t the park district look for a new tenant? Seems like the pro club has eliminated the “competition” from town. Although, if you are worried about a club that is drawing 50 people a game, something is wrong with your own business model.

  3. FrankZ

    I agree MikeG. It seems that it would be less expensive (alternative to paying the lease to the park district), and for the Foresters to work out something to rent the field for their home games instead of not playing in Rockford at all!

  4. MikeG

    Hounddog the story claims that the college team did not pay the rent in 2012, is that accurate? Interesting that the Aviators would want to operate two facilities in the same town. Maybe the college team could rent the facility from the Aviators for their home games??

  5. HoundDog

    I can tell you that as the majority owner of the team I’m not happy about the situation. Most of this stems from that we had a new owner ready to buy the team that we reached an agreement with in September 2012 that had check in hand and our lawyer was drawing up the paperwork for the sale. We presented this owner to the Rockford Park District for approval (to transfer the lease). One specific individual at the park district (Deputy Director Jay Sandine) wanted us to include a totally new person in the deal. When we tried to include this person in the deal and that person pulled out, the Rockford Park District told us no to our deal. We were paying north of $12,500 a year for a lease (increase $1,500 a year) with no financial support from the park district for improvements and now they let this new group in there (one-year leases may I add instead of our five-year contracts) and charge them $500 a month ($6,000 a year). Why didn’t the park district offer our group a “rebate” of $6,500 the first year to put into the stadium for improvements.

    The Rockford Aviators claim they are going to program the facility more which is a lie. We had literally every weekend full from the end of March to the middle of October full of youth tournaments (minus days for Rockford Foresters’ games, Memorial Day Weekend, and 3/4 of the month of August). In addition to this we had the Rockford Foresters games as well as other events at the stadium.

    In the end I know what is going to happen but I’m not going to comment on what I think is going to happen because I don’t want to be sued.

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