It’s been 43 days since the Waterloo Bucks last played a game at Riverfront Stadium. Record flooding from the Cedar River inundated the ballpark last month, leaving the team homeless.
Now, after major cleanup efforts and an electrical overhaul, the Bucks are returning to their stadium this weekend for the first time since June 1st.
They’re hosting a two-game series against the Green Bay Bullfrogs, starting tonight. General Manager Dan Corbin says it has been a unique situation for the team, fans and sponsors and the city of Waterloo. Corbin says things could be worse, as in the grand scheme of things they are just a baseball team.
Corbin says the flood caused extensive damage inside the stadium. He says the concessions equipment and anything else that was submerged has to be replaced, and that starts to add up.
Corbin says the only structural damage was to the stadium’s party deck, which was destroyed by the 10-foot high water. The flood also caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to the ballpark’s electrical system. While most of it has been repaired, Corbin says some concession areas won’t be fully operational this weekend.
Field Manager Pete Lauritson says the team is anxious to re-open the stadium, and he says they want to come home and play well. The Bucks got off to a slow start, but have played well despite not having a home stadium. Lauritson believes the team can make a run at a second-half championship.
He says they started 3-11 and their record since is 14-9. Lauritson says playing in front of a home crowd will really help them. Waterloo played six recent home games at a local high school diamond, while the others were played at the opposition’s stadium.
What happened to the Bucks is unprecedented in the Northwoods League, but Lauritson says the other teams have been very supportive. He says everyone in the league has been helpful in adjusting on the fly, as he says it has been extra work for other teams.
The Bucks are wrapping up a six-game road trip. Their Friday and Saturday games against Green Bay both start at 7:05 p.m. Ironically, the Bullfrogs are last team Waterloo played at Riverfront before the flood.