Joplin council member: Don’t expect city council to bend over backwards for Joplin Blasters

Joplin council member: Don’t expect city council to bend over backwards for Joplin Blasters
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Update: City officials say the Blasters have failed to meet today’s 5 p.m. extended deadline

The 5 p.m. deadline approaches today for the Joplin Blasters to pay its October lease payment to the City of Joplin. If the deadline passes, it doesn’t appear yet the City will evict the team from the stadium.

Early last year, the City and Joplin Blasters owners signed into an agreement that the Blasters would pay $37,500, plus a third of stadium expenses such as utilities, four times a year. But the CEO of the Blasters recently issued a statement, saying members of the team’s management came to Joplin because they were told they would have much higher attendance numbers than what they actually have today.

The Blasters want to restructure the lease with the City.

But Joplin City Councilman Ryan Stanley says a question now facing city council is, do you want the team to be accountable, or do you want to accommodate the team? Stanley doesn’t believe city council will “bend over backwards to accommodate them.” Stanley says he wants what’s best for the City, financially. Stanley also says, “If they want to play tough, I don’t think they’re going to get a lot of sympathy from city council.”

Stanley says he remembers, before he was a council member, listening to the Blasters management saying they would have no problem meeting the “break even” point of attendance per game (Stanley remembers this number to be about 12 hundred a home game). Stanley also says he remembers the Blasters’ management saying it would all come down to marketing by the team to break even in numbers.

Stanley says he hopes a narrative from the team doesn’t come down to, “We were misled.”

A work session between city council and the Blasters team has been scheduled for Oct. 26th.

Stanley says he’s not aware of another team and/or entity showing interest in Joe Becker stadium, but notes the stadium has become well-known and attractive within the national baseball community. Stanley hopes that if the Blasters left Joplin, another team would come.

Click here for more information on the Blasters new lease proposals. Click here for another recent story on the Blasters.