PRESS RELEASE – At a press conference filled with local media members, baseball fans and local baseball legends, the Prospect League and the City of Cape Girardeau announced an expansion franchise for the summer wood-bat circuit will play at Capaha Field beginning with the 2019 season.
Local businessman Anand “Andy” Patel owns the new franchise and has, along with the city, assembled a management group that includes Vice President Jim Limbaugh and General Manager Mark Hogan, who spent 31 years as a college head coach, including 18 at Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau.
Hogan, eager to work on a baseball project in the community, spoke about the new franchise’s excitement and momentum. “Cape is a baseball-loving city; we love our baseball and the fans are well-educated,” he said. “It’s an outstanding league and to be able to help develop a program, it’s super exciting.”
“I feel blessed to have the opportunity to have the experience that I have and to now be able to use it for a project in this community,” Hogan added.
Mayor Harry Rediger welcomed media and fans to the recently-completed SportsPlex for the announcement, as he and City Manager Scott Meyer were primary advocates of working with the Prospect League and its Commissioner, Dennis Bastien, from the early research and planning stages through the announcement of the team.
“Since accepting the Commissioner position a year ago, it has been one of my primary goals to work Cape Girardeau into the fold,” said Bastien. “I have never seen a city or municipal administration take the ball and run with it as Mayor Rediger has.”
“A giant tip of the Prospect League cap to everyone here,” added Bastien. “It’s a great baseball community that fits into our goals with league expansion and this new franchise has high-quality people backing it at many levels.”
Hogan spoke about the work ahead to make the new team a part of the community off the field and to make it competitive on the field.
“I’m looking very forward to helping develop not only the involvement of our new program with the community, but also structuring things like coaching staffs, helping to bring in the right kind of people to lead this program and, obviously, the acquisition of quality players from around the country,” said Hogan. “We have a big job ahead of us, we’re at zero right now but excited to get started.”
The Cape Girardeau franchise will play its home games at city-owned Capaha Field, which also serves as the home ballpark for Southeast Missouri State and several other local programs. It was announced that, prior to the start of Prospect League play in the summer of 2019, several upgrades to the ballpark related to the fan experience and business operations will take place in addition to the recently-completed ballpark updates that included a new artificial turf playing surface, bullpens, scoreboard, video board and fencing.
A campaign to get the community’s input on things like team name, logo, mascot and colors will be launched in the very near future.
“It’s fresh in Cape right now, I have my first speaking engagement with the Lions Club already set up,” Hogan added. “I think I can speak for the community on this, Cape is really going to get around this, I’m sure.”