IS IT TRUE? Part 2 May 18, 2011 Evansville Professional Sports


IS IT TRUE? May 18, 2011 Evansville Professional Sports

IS IT TRUE that there are currently only two minor league professional sports teams that play in Evansville?…that the Evansville Otters play baseball at Bosse Field and that the Evansville IceMen play hockey at Swonder but seem destined to be the only professional team to play in the new Arena?…that there are two semi-pro teams in other sports?…that the Evansville Enforcers are a start up semi-pro football team that will be using the Goebel Soccer Complex as their home field and that the Evansville Crush was established last year and intends to start playing soccer at the Metro Sports Center during 2011?

IS IT TRUE that there is a long history of professional sports teams that have given it the old college try to make it in the Evansville market?…that the only sport that has been continually represented at the professional level in Evansville over a hundred year period is baseball?…that there have been exactly 20 different professional baseball teams formed in Evansville?…that the progression from the Evansville River Rats formed in 1901 to the pinnacle of Evansville professional baseball when the Evansville Triplets became a AAA affiliated farm team of the Minnesota Twins in 1970 was all upwards?…that the Triplets remained a AAA affiliated team until 1984 when the Detroit Tigers were there mother team?…that we almost got back to the AA affiliate level in the early part of the 21st Century during Russ Lloyd Junior’s administration but that when the downtown baseball stadium became a political target for current Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel Evansville’s opportunity to start back up the baseball food chain ended?…that Evansville is and has always been a town that supports baseball?…that some of the mascots associated with Evansville professional baseball have been River Rats, Blackbirds, Braves, Bees, Hubs, Pocketeers, Evas, Black Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Strikers, and Hoosiers?…that there were many starts, stops, and changes but that baseball has been constant in Evansville?

IS IT TRUE that Evansville once had an NFL (National Football League) franchise and played in a league that included the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears, and the Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals?…that the Evansville franchise was purchased for a fee of $1,000 and approved for membership by Papa Bear himself George Halas?…that the Evansville Crimson Giants played for only two seasons going 0-3 in their final season in 1922?…that the Crimson Giants travelled to Green Bay to play the Packers and lost 43-6?…that Mayor Benjamin Bosse was a shareholder?…that from 1922 – 2000 there were no attempts to resurrect professional football in Evansville?…that since Y2K there have been six attempts at professional football including one female team called the Evansville Express?…that the only team with any semblance of commercial success was the Evansville BlueCats that played arena football in Roberts Stadium for 5 seasons before calling it quits for financial reasons?…that certain high school rivalries still draw close to 10,000 fans but that professional football has never prospered here?…that Evansville also has no college level football teams?

IS IT TRUE that one would think that professional basketball would have a chance to prosper in the 3rd largest city in Indiana?…that this has only been attempted two times and was short lived on both occasions?…that the Evansville Agogans played one season in what is now the YMCA gym downtown in 1950-51?…that Roberts Stadium was the home to the Evansville Thunder from 1984 – 86 and was coached by UE legend Jerry Sloan before he made his way to the real professional ranks as an NBA coach with the Utah Jazz?

IS IT TRUE that the Evansville IceMen are the first attempt at professional hockey in Evansville?…that it is entirely possible that this team could grow and prosper bringing Evansville a new professional sports team to enjoy?…that the initial deal for use of the Evansville Arena should be quite flexible and forgiving in the early years if this team is to survive?…that the track record for anything but baseball is not that great in this market and that we hope that the IceMen break with the fast start –fast death history of professional sports in Evansville that do not involve bases, bats, and balls?


  1. The thing I come away with reading this is that the time for a professional sports team supported by the city has long since come and gone, times have changed, with the advent of 24 hr TV, sports channels, ESPN, the need for this type of entertainment comes at a huge premium to the tax payers. I think this is true in every form of sports, why make the effort to see a game live when you can sit in the comfort of your own home and watch on your big screen TV in brilliant HD? In the best economic times sports teams are a luxury, given today’s economic climate it makes little sense to me to waste tax payers dollars on such a luxury with the infrastructure crumbling all around us. Heck even the arena is a luxury the people of Evansville could have done without but we now have it and must make the best of the situation, it’s going to be a uphill battle for it to just pay for itself much less generate any kind of substantial profit.

    While it’s true in business that you have to spend money to make money, that isn’t even close to the truth when it comes to the city’s finances, a public trust (ie city government) is empowered to collect taxes and provide essential services to the tax base, that doesn’t include hotels, apartments, and arenas, it means streets, sewers, police, fire protection, a BPW department that actually does something, and if something is left over a parks department, the key is essential services which does not in my mind include sports teams.


    • “Profit”?

      As in, Gage run festival profits?
      As in, Conventions missed since the Executive closed, profits?
      As in, FDP real estate profits?
      As in, McCurdy parking lot sales profits?
      As in, CVB booze fests, to drink up their profits?

    • I couldn’t agree more. A copy of this message should be given to every city council and mayoral candidate. Keep the trash picked up, the grass cut in the summer and the snow plowed in the winter, flush the poop, provide us with clean water, fire and police protection and do it all at a reasonable price. I would add providing some minimal level of a social safety net would be essential too. Being a good spokesperon representative for the city and region is a bonus.

      If we could get this accomplished then the site locators, CEO’s, business leaders and families would WANT to relocate to Evansville, reducing the need for “jobs programs” and quasi-bribes in the form of tax abatements.

      If we don’t get this done, then the population decline and brain drain will continue to happen.

  2. The facts are that only two minor league sports, baseball and hockey, have any track record of success anywhere, not just here. Minor league arena football has failed in nearly every market, same for the CBA. NBDL is a complete joke and the last thing we need competing against a D-1 team for attendance.

    I agree that there needs to be every attempt made between the arena management and the Icemen to assure this survives. No one needs to look any farther than the 50 year history Ft. Wayne has had with the Komets to see how beneficial this is to a community. Ron Geary should be commended for not only bringing this to our community, but continually trying to provide us with an improved product. They have gone from a developemental team to a Double A team in a relatively short period.

    This is completely opposite of the Otters. This is a garbage team in a garbage league. Bill Bussing has shown absolutely no interest in providing any type of improved product here. Annual last place finishes in a garbage league. With Bosse Field and our support of baseball, there is no excuse for anything less than A ball here. I would strongly support the Otters having their lease terminated and attempts to secure a real minor league baseball team here.

  3. Sorry, I got a little carried away with my rant on the Otters. I would like to explain why I disagree with you on the NBDL.

    As I have stated before, my biggest problem with the NBDL is the overlaping schedule with not only the Icemen, but more importantly, UE. It’s no secret the attendance is down considerably at Aces games and the success isn’t what long time UE fans are accustomed to. Without significant attendance, there is no way a small, private college can compete in a conference like the MVC or even in D-1. The benefits of having a successful team bearing our cities name in a mid to upper D-1 conference like the MVC is far greater than we could ever hope for with a NBDL franchise. Ft. Wayne does ok with the Mad Ants, but they are a very distant second during the winter to the Komets. I am also confident that just about any Ft. Wayne resident would gladly give up the Mad Ants if it meant IPFW could play in the MVC with 10k in the stands every night. The vast majority of NBDL teams play in markets without D-1 basketball, at least on the level the Aces play at.

    IMO, we need the Aces drawing well along with the Icemen and a Class A or better team parked at Bosse. That would make a nice sports scene for our city and area.

  4. The NBDL only plays 3-6 home games a month and I would hope that they would be wise enough to schedule them on non Aces days or maybe schedule them after Aces games.

    If the NBDL were to somehow chunk off the Aces support (which I doubt would happen) it would be solely the Aces fault. If they spend the money they need to spend, and go out and recruit to be competitive in the MVC, they will have the premier product and they will always be one step ahead of the NBDL.

    The NBDL is in the same city as the Drake Bulldogs- Des Moines, and is in other cities with prestigous universities such as Tulsa.

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