It's official - baseball is coming to the Heartland

It's official - baseball is coming to the Heartland
By: Arnold Wyrick
After years of planning and waiting baseball fans in Southern Illinois will finally get to sit at their own ballpark and take in a ball game.
The official announcement came during a new conference on Wednesday afternoon.  And fans who've waited for years to hear the crack of the bat couldn't be happier.
"It's finally here.  It's great for Southern Illinois tourism, for adding value to the community, and community pride.  Not to mention creating a lot of new tax revenue for the community," says Stephanie Rhodes of Marion, Illinois.
And for those who were so skeptical about the possibilities of professional baseball coming to Southern Illinois, they were wrong because it's coming.  In fact in May 2007 Marion will field their own team in the Frontier League.
"I think they'll get a lot of support from the region.  Look at how many kids are out here today.  They're going to enjoy it," says Dennis White of Marion.
And enjoy it they will for some they can hardly wait to see the first game.
"I think it's so cool to be able to watch baseball, and other baseball players.  I just like watching baseball," says Jace Horn of Marion's Little League All Star Team.
The teams new owner Jayne Simmons is promising fans an enjoyable time at the game.  And plenty of excitement on the field.
"You'll enjoy the talent in the Frontier League as the players play hard on every pitch, hoping of realizing their dreams of playing in the big leagues," Simmons said.
And some of the future ball players in the league who were on hand for the announcement are looking forward to learning a few things about the game, from those players on the field.
"Like maybe how the catcher catches the ball.  Or how they stand when they bat stuff like that," says Jordan Shotton of Marion's Girl's Softball All Star Team.
Marion's Mayor Bob Butler took the first swing at purchasing a season ticket.  And Governor Rod Blagojevich stepped up to the plate with another $1,000,000 dollars in state funds, on top of the already $3,000,000 the state has already given to Marion to bring professional baseball to the city.