A handful of the newly minted Great Bend Boom professional baseball players attended the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce coffee this morning with two simple pleas. They said they are in desperate need of host families and they urged residents to attend their opener tonight.
Decked out in their bright orange and blue uniform jerseys and ball caps, the four teammates joined their head coach Dave Boron to introduce themselves and drum up support.
The Boom kicks off its inaugural season tonight on the Al Burns Memorial Field at Veterans Memorial Park with the opening pitch slated for 6:30 p.m. against the Salina Stockade. However, first Great Bend native and Grammy Award-winner Bryan Pinkall will sing the National Anthem at 6:20 followed by his father, long-time Great Bend science teacher and coach Gary Pinkall throwing the ceremonial first pitch at 6:25.
Tickets are $6.
The team’s 60-plus game regular season schedule includes 32 home stands and runs through the end of July.
But in the mean time, Boron said they still need places for most of the 20 athletes to live. The kids, which hale from all over the country are not getting paid yet and are running out of funds.
“It’s not dire yet, but its getting close,” he told those gathered at the coffee. One of the players had already had to quit and go home.
“The league lied to us,” Boron said of the Houston-based Pecos League under which the Boom falls. He and his players were told the host family situation was taken care of and it was not, a problem that was dropped into the laps of local organizers.
The Pecos League includes 10 teams, four of which are in Kansas – the Boom, the Stockade, the Garden City Wind and the Topeka Train Robbers. Other teams are in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Colorado.
Most of the Boom’s games will be against the in-state teams.
Boron, who played college and minor league ball, said he’s never been around a bunch of guys that have such a family-like bond. “These are good kids. These kids just want to play ball.”
For more information, contact Boron at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Doug Bender at 785-493-2973.