Yesterday you could read here about the Clinton LumberKings joining the Prospect League. But with the addition of the LumberKings, the league would have an odd number of teams. That problem is solved now by adding the Burlington Bees, also a former Minor League team that did not get an invitation by one of the 30 MLB clubs.
The Prospect League is one of the top collegiate wood bat baseball leagues with teams spanning across the Midwest and into Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The Bees are dealing with the same situation as the LumberKings: None of the collegiate players need to be paid as they are not allowed to receive any stipend, both fiscal or pay in kind.
The club’s General Manager Kim Parker stated: “We are ecstatic to make this announcement for our fans and community who have really stepped up to the plate for us during these trying times. Baseball and community events are what we do best and this new partnership will allow us to continue to do both. Our staff strives to make the ballpark a place where fun is had and memories are made. We are overjoyed to continue that family tradition here at Community Field.”
(Professional) baseball has a long history in Burlington, Iowa. The first professional team that saw light was the Burlington Babies in 1889. From there the city had teams in several leagues, some times with periods with no baseball at all. Some examples of names the teams in Burlington had: Burlington Colts (1895-1997), River Rats (1904), Pathfinders (1906-1916), Flints (1952-1953) and of course Bees, which was used in 1924–1932, 1954–1981, 1993–present.
With this move to the Prospect League, baseball in Burlington is saved even though not on a professional level. For the baseball fans in Burlington their beloved sport is not lost.
Chelsea Lerud, Executive Director, Greater Burlington Convention & Visitors Bureau, expressed her gratitude about the fact that baseball in Burlington is preserved: “The Greater Burlington Partnership is beyond excited that the long standing history of Bees baseball will continue in Greater Burlington. Community Field will remain a destination for regional sports fans and families to experience summer fun and high quality baseball. We look forward to promoting the new league while building it into a strong economic driver for the community.”
Also Mayor Jon D. Billups is pleased: “The City of Burlington is thrilled to learn that the Burlington Bees will once again grace Community Field! The Bees have been part of the traditions of our community for decades as generations have learned to love “The Game” in Burlington at Community Field. There is nothing better than to catch a Bees game on a sunny day; chatter in the stands, the crack of a bat, umps calling strikes, and the taste of a good ol’ hotdog. Traditions remain as the Bees now, still remain. We appreciate the hard work and effort the Bees organization has put in to ensure Bees Baseball continues.”