GILLETTE, Wyo. – An independent baseball organization wants permission from the City of Gillette to build a new baseball field at the Energy Capital Sports Complex.
The field would allow Rage Baseball to provide their teams a consistent place to practice and compete, according to founders Darin and Jackie Morgan, who pitched their idea to the Gillette City Council on March 14.
“All we’re looking for is a place to build this field and a place to call home for Rage Baseball,” Darin said, adding that the field would be open to all Rage Baseball age groups from 19-year-old players down to 8U youth teams.
Outside of providing the space, the idea would come at zero cost to the city with Rage Baseball looking to pay for the field through fundraising and volunteer efforts. Depending on whether the city grants them access to the complex, the goal would be to have the field paid for, open, and ready to play in time for the 2024 baseball season, they said.
In Gillette, baseball practice spaces are limited with the places available only offering a couple of touch times each week, according to Darin, who said Rage Baseball has been making do with practicing wherever will have them like football fields and the indoor-field house at the Campbell County Recreation Center.
Limited practice space has prevented Rage Baseball from growing; they’ve turned away three teams in the 12-15 year age groups, Darin said.
But interest in the new baseball organization continues to grow in the community, enough for Rage Baseball to plan on having between five and seven teams next season, Jackie said, who said players and parents alike are calling to encourage them to keep moving forward with the organization so they can come and play.
The new field would cost around $300-400,000. The money would pay for new astroturf, fencing, electrical, and other items associated with getting the field ready to play on, Darin said, adding that fundraising efforts are going strong and several businesses have stepped up to help with different aspects of the project.
“To build a field- fences and everything like that- we’re looking at a significant amount,” Darin said. “We’re just average Joe’s, average people trying to build a program and do good for our community and the young men and youth that are here.”
He said the field is a three to five-year plan that would include getting things like bleachers and lights eventually.
The proposal garnered surface support from the council, though several questions were raised during the meeting about Rage Baseball’s plan to maintain the field after its completion and if there was a contingency plan in place in case the organization failed.
Darin said he couldn’t provide a specific dollar amount for how much money would be needed to maintain the field each year, though he assured the council that maintenance would be handled entirely by Rage Baseball.
“We will maintain it from head to toe within our organization,” Darin said, making a point that Rage Baseball is not looking for help from the city, merely permission to build on a specific location.
He also said that he couldn’t answer an inquiry from Mayor Shay Lundvall about what would happen to the field if the project failed.
Rage Baseball’s proposal was not an action item on the council’s March 14 agenda.