Despite being the smallest markets in the Midwest League, professionalbaseball returns to Clinton and Burlington this year. In recent years,markets like Waterloo and Springfield, Illinois have lost their franchisesand the one in Rockford, Illinois is apparently headed to Dayton, Ohio butClinton and Burlington have kept their clubs. Clinton Lumberkings GeneralManager Ted Tornow says while there are special challenges, professionalbaseball can remain viable in the league’s smallest market.Tornow has been in Clinton only a couple of months and feels baseball canwork in the city.Tornow says baseball has survived in Clinton because it is community ownedand a single owner would have moved to greener pastures years ago.Dan Vaughan is the new General Manager of the Burlington Bees. Theoff-season saw new improvements to Community Field, including thereplacement of old wooden bleachers with aluminum stands.Vaughan says being community owned has kept pro baseball in the city.And while the status of the ballclub means small improvements are morecommon than major stadium plans, it also means there is not as much pressureto make a huge profit.Vaughan says they have actively tried to market the ballclub in othersoutheast Iowa cities to try and broaden their market.
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