KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Locksmiths showed up at the T-Bones stadium early Monday morning, changing the locks on team offices and putting padlocks on the gates.
This move by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas wasn’t unexpected by the folks on the inside of the failed deal.
“We feel we were very patient with the T-Bones and gave them a lot of opportunities to pay what they owe,” said Mike Taylor, spokesperson for the Unified Government. “We got to the point where enough is enough. We are locking you out of the stadium.”
It was a month ago that the Unified Government told the T-Bones to get out.
But the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball stepped up and paid the UG $50,000 to buy one more month. Time for the T-Bones to either come up with the money or sell the team.
“We feel like we are being responsible to our taxpayers, and we had a business partner who did not live up to their end of the deal,” Taylor said.
Financial troubles for the T-Bones go back years.
Despite bailouts from the UG and the UG buying the stadium in 2010, the team continues to struggle.
The T-Bones owner, Ehlert Development Corporation, now owes over $700,000 to the Unified Government and utility companies.
The lockout has left vendors and sponsors wondering what’s next.
“We weren’t aware of some of the other things that were going on, but we were very interested in working with the T-Bones, and being a good supporter of baseball in Kansas City was like the main focus for us the whole time,” said Andrew Dowis, CEO of Pro Athlete, Inc.
His brand Just Bats is a major sponsor of the T-Bones. Dowis was aware the team could be sold when he signed a one year sponsorship with options.
For Dowis, the sponsorship is more about supporting and promoting baseball in KCK.
“Just to see your brand fly at a professional ball park is pretty awesome. We don’t look at it through the dollars thing as much as some people do. It is just the cool factor, and it felt cool to us to be able to be a part of that,” Dowis said.
“We will wait and see what happens,” he continued. “If the sale goes through, we will support the new ownership group. Hopefully they keep it in Kansas City, so we are just kind of waiting and seeing like everybody else.”
The T-Bones have been up for sale since 2018, but there hasn’t been a deal yet.
“That is what we would really like to see that happen,” Taylor said. “It is premature to talk too much about that, and I don’t know if it will come to fruition, but that is our hope. We are working to make that our goal, to continue to have a baseball team here under new ownership.”
The T-Bones issued the following statement Monday afternoon:
“The Kansas City T-Bones are progressing toward a sale and are scheduled to complete the sale this week. The incoming owner has been in close negotiations and planning with the Unified Government, all for the sake of setting the table for continued American Association professional baseball in Wyandotte County.
“The current and future owners have, in fact, satisfied a number of action steps to move toward closing and have communicated these with the UG. The parties have executed a Letter of Intent and Due Diligence is in progress. As such, neither party can comment outside the confidentiality of the LOI.”