While the Major League Baseball season is gearing up for another memorable October, in Fremont a new collegiate woodbat baseball team is gearing up for its inaugural season next spring.
The Expedition League officially announced the launch of its Fremont affiliate team, which will begin play at a soon-to-be-upgraded Moeller Field next May.
The yet-to-be-named Fremont team will join the 8-team Expedition League, and will be owned by local ownership with Fremont resident and current Midland University baseball coach Chad Miller leading as majority owner.
“During my time coaching and managing other summer collegiate leagues, I have always been thrilled to see the pride a team in a top league like the Expedition Leaue can bring to a community,” Miller said. “There is always a possibility the fans, especially the children, are rubbing elbows all summer with a future Major League player. The reality is players on teams at the College World Series could return to their campus and a week later be living in Fremont and playing at Moeller Field.”
The Expedition League held its inaugural season in 2018, fielding eight teams from communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. The league’s other Nebraska-based teams include the Hastings Sodbusters and the Western Nebraska Pioneers—based in the Scottsbluff/Gering area.
Miller, along with officials from the Expedition League and City of Fremont, officially launched the new team with a press conference at Moeller Field on Friday afternoon.
Expedition League President Steve Wagner said he was excited to add a team to the league in Fremont, and gave some insight into the newly created collegiate wood bat baseball league.
“We were thrilled with our inaugural season we drew about 160,000 fans across the league,” he said. “We are all about the fun experience and that is what is so great about Fremont —we’ve just been welcomed here with open arms and we are really thankful for the opportunity to come here, and to make some renovations to the ball park.”
Each Expedition League team features a roster of 30 players made up of collegiate players from Division I, JUCO, and the NAIA.
“We just have a really nice mix of high caliber collegiate baseball talent coming to play for our teams,” Wagner said.
With the new Expedition League team, will come with it a variety of improvements to it’s new home field—Moeller Field.
“We are excited to see what we can make Moeller Field into, it is a tremendous template and we are proud to use this facility through our Midland program, however we are excited to choose a designer here in the near future and begin the renovation process,” Miller said.
According to Miller, he expects to choose a designer for the renovations within the next week and have rendering of the updates within the next month or so.
Renovation plans include adding at least 750 additional stadium seats as well as adding one or two party decks, kids fun zones, and replacing the backstop with a netting system and moving it closer to homeplate.
“We are hoping to tear out this chainlink backstop and move the fence in another 15-feet to create a VIP homeplate seating area,” Miller said.
Planned upgrades also include renovations to the concession stand and restrooms at Moeller.
Miller said he also hopes to transform Moeller Field into a venue suitable for other types of entertainment.
“My hope is that potentially we could put in articifial turf in the infield and so we can make this truly a community gathering place by hosting concerts and bringing in other events that truly add to the quality of life in Fremont,” he said.
While the Fremont Expedition League team currently does not have a name and mascot, the process of selecting one is currently underway and open to input from local residents.
“We are asking for the community’s input, we would like your creative ideas as far as mascots, team names, logos,” Miller said. “Once we get those narrowed down we plan on creating a poll and allowing our fans to vote on that and we will choose a winner and unveil the logo.”
If the eventual name is chosen from a fan suggestion, that individual will win two season tickets, two team baseball hats, and a chance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Moeller Field next May.
“Across the Expedition League we have the Spearfish Sasquatch, the Badlands Big Sticks up in Dickinson, and Teddy Roosevelt hung out up there—you know, speak softly and carry a big stick—so Teddy is our mascot up there,” Wagner said. “That’s one of the great thing about team names, you can get super creative. There are some great baseball names like the Savannah Bananas and the Macon Bacon, so there’s a lot of opportunity for creativity.”
During the press conference on Friday, Greater Fremont Development Council Executive Director Garry Clark spoke about the new team’s positive effect on economic growth and tourism—but also the opportunity for a new, local family friendly activity.
“We support this effort and are excited about this effort and how it will benefit the community,” he said. “We know that we need opporutnities for business growth, housing and commercial advancement, but we cannot forget the opportunity for fun and activities and that is why I support the Expedition League.”
Wagner also expressed the Expedition League’s mission of not-only putting quality baseball teams out on the field, but also the concerted effort to provide a fun fan experience for the entire family.
“The thing that I love about it is it’s fun for the whole community,” he said. “People come out to have a greeat time, you know there are people that come to our games that I think dont even really realize there is a game going on. That’s whats cool about it, if you watch every pitch—great—if you don’t really care about it and still want to have fun we will provide that too.”
Along with providing a variety of fun for fans, Wagner also says that the games are affordable with ticket prices ranging from $6-10 for general and reserved seating.
More information about the Expedition League can be found online at expeditionleague.com. To submit an entry for the new team name contest locally visit the Fremont affiliates Facebook page at Fremont Expedition League Team or on Twitter at the handle—@fremontteam.