PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)–Playing in Peoria; Minor League Baseball might not play games this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Normally the stands at Dozer Park would be full of fans ready for a game of baseball. Currently, there’s a good chance that won’t happen at all.
The Chiefs were scheduled to be at home Friday night against in-state rival Kane County Cougars, however, due to COVID-19, baseball has yet to get underway.
“It’s tough, especially days like today, it’s nice outside, we had a home game tonight. We had fireworks,” said Chiefs’ general manager, Jason Mott.
Chiefs’ general manager Jason Mott is still holding out hope, but the chances of playing in 2020 are looking less likely by the day. He says it’s been tough to pay the bills.
“Fans walking in the ballpark and buying tickets, souvenirs, concessions; that’s how we make our money, that’s how we pay the bills,” Mott said.
Last year alone, Dozer Park hosted over 125 events including Chiefs’ home games and state high school tournaments and charitable events.
“Without the Chiefs baseball there, it’s tough to do that.”
J.D. Dalfonso, CEO of Enjoy Peoria says the community takes pride in being an affiliate to the St. Louis Cardinals and it attracts baseball fans from other cities.
“Aside from teams staying in the hotels, it’s also visitors coming to stay overnight–hotel tax, restaurant tax provides more revenue for the municipalities here,” Dalfonso said.
The Peoria ball-club is offering curbside pickup and online sales from the store and has scheduled other events.
“At this point, every little bit is going to help, I made the joke the other day we might have to sell anything that’s not locked down,” Mott said.
Both Dalfonso and Mott say they at least hope to play a few games this year and are looking forward to 2021.