Summer league baseball will look a little different in Rockford, not in who's on the field, but what field they're playing on. The Rockford Forester's are no longer playing ball at Marinelli Field.
Tuesday night, the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners approved the Rockford Aviators, formerly the RiverHawks, to take control of Marinelli Field. Commissioners think it's a home run, but Rockford Foresters managers are calling an error.
"We really think that we're getting short-changed and I know a lot of our fans and different people in our ownership group feel the same exact thing, that we're getting screwed by the park district." -says Foresters General Manager Joe Stefani.
According to RPD Executive Director Tim Dimke, the Foresters were done at Marinelli field after the 2012 season.
"Over last September, through various reasons they notified us that they would not be returning for the 2013 season, in fact even at the end of September they pulled all of their equipment out of there." -says Dimke.
But Stefani says the team never planned to leave and that the club still had equipment at the field. The Foresters' owners were leaving, but they were ready to hand the team over to an interested buyer. Stefani claims the park district was fine with that, as long as a third party person that the park district picked out was part of the ownership deal, but that third party person backed out at the last second.
"The park district was telling us 'If this third party guy is not interested, you guys can't transfer that lease,' because we would have to get approval for the lease to transfer from one company to another and when this third party person, let's call him "Bob," when "Bob" said to me 'Hey I'm not interested anymore,' the park district then said, 'Sorry guys, there's nothing you can do we're going to go through and we're going to get rid of your lease now.'" -Stefani explains.
According to the Aviator's managers, they won't be playing at Marinelli Field, just hosting youth and high school tournaments. The Aviators will continue playing home games at their Loves Park field. As for the Foresters, they're going to be a traveling team, only playing away games for the 2013 season.
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