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Millikin partnership for Prospect League to play at Workman Family Baseball Field will not move forward
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Millikin partnership for Prospect League to play at Workman Family Baseball Field will not move forward

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DECATUR — Millikin won't be hosting a Prospect League team this summer at its new $5.4 million Workman Family Baseball Field.

Millikin and the Prospect League, a collegiate summer baseball league, could not come to an agreement to bring a franchise to the new stadium for the summer of 2020, according to Millikin athletic director Craig White. 

Millikin and the league held a joint news conference in May announcing a memorandum of understanding to establish a team that would play summer baseball at Workman Field.

"Right now, Millikin has decided not to move forward with the Prospect League. That is not forever, that's for now," White said. 

A stumbling block on the agreement was on the length of the proposed 10-year contract between the potential team owners and the university. 

"I think part of it is that we built this brand new facility and the donors' first priority was for the student athletes and we want our kids to have it this spring," White said. "We will rent it out to high schools and things like that. but we did not want to make the commitment at this time for a 10-year commitment for 30 games for year."

White said Millikin is open to consider a Prospect League proposal in the future, but was hesitant with the facility still being brand new.

"A contract of that length, you want to be very circumspect especially when we haven't played a game on it yet," White said. "Let's wait and see how it plays and so we would be entering in to things when we have some unknowns."

The Prospect League, previously known as the Central Illinois Collegiate League (CICL), was founded in 1963 and is a wood bat league that features college players with NCAA eligibility remaining. A Decatur team, the Blues, were a part of the CICL from 1986 to 2003. There are currently 12 teams in the league, including the Normal CornBelters and Springfield Sliders.

Millikin is currently putting the finishing touches to the Workman Field, which was funded by private donors, including the team locker rooms. 

"We hope for the first game in March that we will be ready," White said. "We will start practice in the next couple weeks and we are still working on it. Like anything new, we have little things here and there. We could play on it today if we needed to."

The Big Blue will play its first home game on Saturday, March 7, against St. Norbert College at 10 a.m.

Contact Matthew Flaten at (217) 421-6968. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFlaten

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