The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 21, 2014

Outlaws still 'go' despite decision for pro baseball

The Joplin Outlaws have no plans to alter their 2014 schedule in the wake of a decision Tuesday night by the Joplin City Council to bring professional baseball to Joe Becker Stadium.

The Outlaws’ season is scheduled to begin May 29 at Rossville (Kan.). Their home opener is scheduled for May 31 against the Ozark Generals at Joe Becker Stadium.

“We’re still a go,” Mark Rains, team president and general manager, said Tuesday before the city council meeting. “If it passes, we’re still a go.”

The city council agreed to a 20-year lease on the use of Joe Becker Stadium to the former El Paso (Texas) Diablos of the American Association of Independent Baseball.

The Outlaws play in the MINK Collegiate Baseball League, a summer league for college-level baseball players. The league at its meeting last fall approved the inclusion of a new team — the Branson Nationals — who will be in the South Division and play its home games at College of the Ozarks.

The MINK League, founded in 1910, is comprised of nine teams — Joplin, Nevada, Ozark, Branson, Sedalia, Chillicothe and St. Joseph in Missouri; Clarinda, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb. MINK League players are not paid in order to maintain their NCAA eligibility.

This summer will mark the Outlaws’ sixth season in Joplin unless Rains hears otherwise, he said.

“We did our schedule in October and we turned it in in November,” he said. “Maybe they can work around us.”

And rumors that the Outlaws are going to play in Miami, Okla., are not true, Rains said.

“There are no plans to play in Miami. None at all,” he said. “Our plans are to stay in Joplin. That’s where our host families are.”

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