The Springdale City Council last night officially set an election date for July 11 for voters to approve financing for a new baseball stadium. If approved, $50 million would be added to the city's bond program stadium construction, land purchase, infrastructure improvement, and a reserve fund. But Springdale voters will not just be deciding on whether the city should build a stadium to attract a Minor League team, they will apparently also be deciding the fate of the Wichita Wranglers.
Springdale City Councilman Mike Overton said during the meeting that it is the worst-kept secret in the city that the team that would move to Springdale is the Wranglers, whose stadium lease is up in 2008. The Wranglers are affiliated with the Kansas City Royals, owned by former Wal-Mart CEO David Glass (the worst owner in pro sports -- too bad he can't drive his competitors out of business in MLB like in retailing). The owners of the Wranglers operate Rich Products, a food product vendor to Wal-Mart, and you know how Wal-Mart can strong-arm their vendors to make them do anything.
Two things -- If I'm Wichita right now, I'm throwing as much money as possible into the opposition campaign against the ballpark because that's the only way they're keeping the team beyond 2008. Secondly, what a rivalry this will be for the Travelers fans if Springdale gets a team. And part of that rivalry is to make sure our new stadium is better and we have a higher attendance figure. Got that, city of North Little Rock!