clear
Saturday May 28th, 2016 6:01AM

Macon explores the idea of bringing baseball back

By The Associated Press
MACON -- When Macon Mayor Robert Reichert met with his Rome counterpart last year, he noted that Evie McNiece always answers his question of how the Rome Braves are doing with a smile.

"It drives me crazy," Reichert said.

Macon has been without an affiliated minor league team since the Macon Braves finished the 2002 season and departed for Rome after that city built a $14 million stadium to lure them away.

Reichert and officials from the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority will hear an informal presentation Wednesday night to gauge the authority's interest in funding a feasibility study to explore what it would take to bring minor league baseball back to Macon.

Reichert stressed the early nature of the talks.

"(The meeting is) to give a relaxed setting to present to members of the Urban Development Authority the possibility of a feasibility study to see about a new stadium or upgrading Luther Williams (Field)," Reichert said.

According to the agenda for Wednesday's meeting, the presentation will be made by Huntley Partners Inc. Efforts to reach the firm for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.

The baseball study also is on the authority's Thursday agenda.

Authority members said Tuesday they know little about Wednesday's presentation.

"I think it's a wild idea, but wild ideas can turn into great ideas," authority Chairman Chris Sheridan said. "This is dreaming at this stage. It's a very informal presentation."

"We're going to find out what their proposal is," added Alex Morrison, the authority's executive director. "That's why they're scheduling this (presentation) in advance. We have no information at this point."

The firm proposing this idea was introduced to Reichert about four months ago through the firm overseeing the redesign of Second Street in downtown Macon, the mayor said.

Reichert said he's very open to the idea of a professional minor league baseball team in Macon, since the only minor league baseball the city has seen in the past decade has been a couple of semi-professional teams in leagues that folded after a season or two.

Reichert said he went to Greenville, S.C., a few years ago when that city was debating whether to build a new stadium, and where it would be located. Ultimately, Greenville built the stadium away from redevelopment-heavy areas of downtown, worrying many residents. However, Reichert said ultimately the city saw businesses pop up near the stadium, leading to a thriving area.

Reichert, who also attended a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Oklahoma City three years ago, said officials there elected to build a new baseball stadium in an old warehouse district, ultimately rejuvenating that part of downtown.

Macon's Luther Williams Field, built in 1929, is among the oldest baseball stadiums in the country. It served as home for various professional franchises. Pete Rose and Chipper Jones played the early stages of their careers there.

Recently, Luther Williams Field has gotten more use in entertainment-related ventures. Filming for the movies "Trouble With The Curve" and "42" took place in 2012 at the stadium, and a Luke Bryan Farm Tour concert scheduled there Oct. 5 is expected to draw thousands.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 2 years ago )
Sports
Falcons fire offensive, defensive line coaches
The Atlanta Falcons have fired defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn.
7:02PM ( 2 years ago )
Best, worst of Falcons' 4-12 season
Best Game: They'd been eliminated from playoff contention previous week vs. New Orleans, but the Falcons showed some heart with Dec. 1 overtime victory over Bills in Toronto.
6:21PM ( 2 years ago )
Gonzalez's career ends with another Falcons loss
Tony Gonzalez is ready for the next chapter of his life.
9:47PM ( 2 years ago )
Professional Sports
Kanaan leads Carb Day practice for Sunday’s Indy 500
He may be starting 18th in Sunday’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, but Tony Kanaan believes he has a car that can win the historic race.
By IndyCar Media
1:54AM ( 4 hours ago )
Markakis has 2-run single in 8th, Braves top Marlins 4-2
Nick Markakis hit a tie-breaking, two-run single off third baseman Nick Prado's glove with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 4-2 on Friday night for a rare home win.
By The Associated Press
11:06PM ( 6 hours ago )
Basketball: Area coaches see a 'positive' change to GHSA finals move
The response amongst northeast Georgia's coaches was overwhelmingly positive following the Georgia High School Association's announcement on Thursday that it will no longer hold its annual basketball championship games in the Macon Coliseum.
10:49PM ( 7 hours ago )
Braves recall Garcia, designate Brignac for assignment
Atlanta Braves utility infielder Reid Brignac has been designated for assignment and third baseman Adonis Garcia has been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.
By The Associated Press
9:17PM ( 8 hours ago )
VIDEO: Historic postseason brought countless top plays
This year provided perhaps the most successful overall postseason campaign in the history of the sport in this area. And we have compiled some of the best highlights involved in that campaign here...
9:05PM ( 8 hours ago )