The Burlington Bees and the Clinton LumberKings will play ball this spring as part of the Prospect League, which features college baseball players.

In December, Major League Baseball cut ties with 42 of its minor league teams, including the two along Iowa’s eastern border. Ted Tornow says the Clinton team will still be called the LumberKings.

“Someone had asked me on an email, you know: ‘Is it still going to be the LumberKings?’ and the answer’s yes,” Tornow says. “We own that logo and that mark, so it’s staying here. Major League Baseball can’t touch that.”

Clinton’s minor league team had been part of the Miami Marlins organization and the Marlins had paid the team’s players. The Pioneer League’s players — all of whom are collegians — pay $495 to play a 60-game schedule. Tornow says the opening games will be in late May and run through early August.

“It’s a plus for me,” Tornow says. “We don’t have to worry about those April games being snowed out and rained out and colded out or…sleeted out.”

Tornow says it gives the organization openings to schedule more high school events at the ballpark, “and, you know we’ve delved into the high school football scene out there, too. We’ve hosted some high school football games out there, so if we’re done playing in the first week of August, that gives us a chance to maybe host more games.”

There will be 16 teams in the Prospect League and Tornow says the general managers of the teams will meet this weekend to set the upcoming season’s schedule.

(By Dave Vickers, KROS, Clinton)