City willing to go to bat to keep Gems baseball in Quincy
QUINCY (WGEM) - The city of Quincy is counting its losses following a major announcement about the future of the local Prospect League baseball team.
Owners of the Quincy Gems announced that the team does not plan to resume play in town next year.
Most people we’ve spoken to said Tuesday’s announcement came out of left field, expressing surprise and disappointment with the decision.
The team’s owners said it’s become too difficult for a Prospect League baseball team to financially survive in the Quincy area.
Supporters said they’re willing to go to bat for the team to keep it in the Gem City.
Mayor Mike Troup said the Quincy Gem’s announcement caught everyone off guard.
“I didn’t know anything about it,” Mayor Troup said. “Nobody else at city hall was aware from my checking with them. I was surprised by the Gems’ announcement. I didn’t realize there were any issues going on.”
Mayor Troup said he’s not sure what’s driving the decision, other than the fact that this summer’s extreme heatwave created challenges for attendance at the baseball games.
However, he said he’s willing to work with the owners to do whatever he can to keep the baseball team in Quincy.
“Baseball is an American tradition,” Mayor Troup said. “QU Stadium has a long tradition of hosting a variety of baseball clubs from the early 1900s. Baseball in Quincy has always had a strong tradition, so we’re happy to work with you.”
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bruce Guthrie also was surprised by the announcement.
However, Guthrie said he understands the owners’ dilemma.
“When you’re running a team and independent baseball team, it takes a lot of time,” Guthrie said. “Not only financially, but a lot of your time. I think that’s one of the challenges that they had and making that commitment over the long haul during the summer.”
Guthrie spent more than 25 years working in marketing for the San Antonio Spurs. He said an athletic team’s connection and benefits to its community are always very personal.
“They love their team, and they get behind it,” Guthrie said. “When they leave, it’s sad. It affects so many people--all these kids and families have been coming out. It affects jobs. It creates a void.”
Both Guthrie and Mayor Troup understand the challenges, but still hope the city can find a way to keep Gems baseball in Quincy.
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