The crack of a bat, the chatter between fans and an unsuspecting umpire, and the view of the sun setting at the end of a warm night. These are all aspects of many ways that baseball is romanticized in our lives.
Much like baseball, students hear many phrases in our day-to-day lives at ACU and in Abilene, such as the frequently used “well, there’s nothing to do around here”. While I did grow up in and love Abilene, I do understand the repetition of this claim.
The current future of baseball in Abilene is bright, with a future team on the horizon for 2023 and the potential for a stadium in historic Oscar Rose Park. This has all come to fruition throughout the past month, after a vote on Aug. 25 to allow alcohol sales, the potential future team appears to have serious legs.
The ACU community has long looked for more in this town, this is not lost on the current students of ACU. “I think it would be a great opportunity for Abilene, especially for people coming to a new place and a new environment,” Jazmin Dominguez, senior biology major from Crandall, said.
Dominguez is not only an ACU student but is also a fan of baseball.
“I like baseball because when I was younger my parents would take us to the Ranger’s games and I just fell in love with the sport,” said Dominguez.
Abilene, though viewed as being in the heart of football country, has a rich history with semi-professional baseball. This dates to 1920 with the then class D Abilene Eagles. There were also the Blue Sox who held the longest lifetime of a team in Abilene from 1948-1957.
The modern era of baseball began in 1995 with the Abilene Prairie Dogs, though the team would fold after 1999. Then in 2012, the Prairie Dogs returned for a season; the team quickly folded at the end of the season as the league fell apart.
This was thought to be the end of baseball in Abilene. For years there have been whispers about baseball’s return to Abilene. But this time there are plans in place to create the team, and it’s time for ACU students to get excited for the future of baseball in Abilene.
This recent progress was due to a group of investors pushing for a team’s creation. Scott Kirk, an Abilene resident, and ACU alumni is a member of this group. To Kirk this is more important than baseball itself,” “It was more about creating something that creates community in the city,” Kirk said. “That’s 39 to 40 nights a summer that a thousand people in Abilene that wouldn’t normally get together can get together. You would like this to stimulate growth around it.”
While baseball itself creates memories and nostalgia, this community and atmosphere are what this process was all about.
It’s about the potential of a place and atmosphere where students will go on first dates and fraternities and sororities can get together. It’s about having a place to go Friday nights that isn’t the lobby of a dorm where you can see your friends and have those moments that you may never forget.