Hot Rods to stay MLB affiliate, new deal brings upgrades to ballpark including female locker room
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - After the Hot Rods’ most recent contract with Major League Baseball ended in September of 2020, the team recently received an offer to extend their affiliation and even move up a level to Class High A.
“It’s awesome, because this is the longest contract that we’ve ever had, and so we’re solidified here in Bowling Green for the next 10 years,” Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of the Bowling Green Hot Rods Eric Leach said.
Major League Baseball only signed on about 120 teams, 43 being newly eliminated from the partnership, so this was a big relief to Leach and the Hot Rods. “Last year was really an emotional year with COVID being, and also the uncertainty of what was going to happen with our franchise with Major League Baseball taking over minor league baseball. So, we’re tremendously excited,” Leach said.
Leach went on to say there are several reasons the teams continues to have a good relationship with MLB and the Tampa Bay Rays, one is that the Hot Rods is always willing to accommodate the needs of the organization.
“They love the community, they love coming here. They love the player development, the town and the ability to engage with the community,” Leach explained.
As part of the new agreement with MLB, The Hot Rods will be required to invest in a few upgrades to the Bowling Green Ballpark in partnership with the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority who owns the stadium.
Two years ago, the ballpark received a new playing field, video score board, splash pad. The new upgrades required by the MLB will focus more on better accommodating the players and staff.
“Everything from a second hitting tunnel to a full workout, weight room, and even down to adding female locker rooms,” Leach explained. “We have female umpires and trainers and support staff, and even now coaches at the Boston Red Sox have hired the first minor league female coach.”
The new improvements will also include an expanded kitchen and nutrition facility for both The Hot Rods and visiting teams.
“The health and wellness of the players is really vital to the product that you see on the field and we’re just excited to be able to open the gates on Tuesday, May 11 and finally had baseball back in the bluegrass,” Leach said.
The players will arrive this Friday and have a couple of practices on the field before they hit the road on Monday for their first game on Tuesday in Greenville, South Carolina.
The Hot Rods home opener is Tuesday, May 11. The first 500 fans will receive a golden Roscoe bobblehead.
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