KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The gates are locked at T-Bones Stadium, but the Unified Government and a successful businessman hope they’ve got the keys to keeping baseball alive in KCK.
“Hopefully whatever deal they have in the works is going to work out well, and we’ll get a chance to continue working and doing what we do over there,” said Bill Sobbe, T-Bones third-base and pitching coach.
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/KCK is looking to strike a deal with a new owner. The UG officially booted the team from its stadium on Monday after $700,000 in bills weren’t paid.
Robert Calvano’s still trying to make a go of his baseball career as a relief pitcher with the Kansas City T-Bones.
“He’s really enjoyed it. He’s one of those kids that just won’t give up,” said Robert’s dad, John Calvano.
Calvano’s son has spent time in the minors, and the T-bones might be his last shot at making it to the bigs. He and his wife have supported him, making it to nearly every home game at the KCK ballpark.
He never expected to hear news of the team being evicted from its home field.
“That was a shocker. We, no one — even the players — didn’t suspect,” Calvano said.
“Front office people did a great job of keeping that distraction away from the players and just letting us go out and play,” Sobbe said.
Bill Sobbe is an assistant coach for Park University baseball, and has also been on the T-Bones coaching staff the past eight years.
“The situation we get as far as bringing guys in, trying to get them back to affiliated baseball has been a fantastic enjoyment for me,” Sobbe said.
He’s been heartbroken that all the young talented players and team staff might not have jobs next season.
But now, Kansas City businessman Mark Brandmeyer wants to buy the the team and add new amenities to the stadium including potential sand volleyball and pickleball courts and a performance stage.
The opportunity feels like a home run.
“We all know the game is part of the event, but part of what goes on around and in the game brings the people back to the stadium — the kids, the families, the people that are directly wanting to get a good entertainment value,” Sobbe said.
“I hope that they stay around. There’s a lot of dedicated people that still support them,” Calvano said.
The Unified Government commission will vote Thursday on the proposed deal with Brandmeyer’s newly formed company, “Max Fun Entertainment.”
If approved, the UG would issue $1 million in STAR bonds to help with improving the stadium. Sales tax revenue generated by the development would then pay off the bonds.
The new owner would continue to support other events at the ballpark, and a part of baseball ticket sales would still go back to Wyandotte County Parks.