City leaders struck out in their bid to bring the 2010 American Legion Baseball World Series to historic Muzzy Field.
Jim Quinlan, spokesman for the American Legion, said today that Bristol lost out to Spokane, Wash. in a close vote of the national committee.
That probably closes the door on Bristol's chances of ever hosting the annual event because rule changes have made it so that in the future, the tournament will be held in the city where the Legion's national convention is taking place.
The five-day event will be held at Spokane's Avista Stadium instead of in Bristol.
"Spokane will be an outstanding site for the series, based on its strong community support and excellent organizing committee," said American Legion National Americanism Commission Chairman Joseph E. Caouette Jr., according to a Legion press release.
"The city of Spokane will be an outstanding host," he said.
This is the first time Spokane has hosted the American Legion World Series, though it's been held three times in Yakima, Wash., most recently in 2001.
Bristol competed against Spokane and Bartlesville, Ok. for the right to host the 2010 World Series, according to Quinlan.
He said that some of the decision-makers preferred Bristol, but Spokane got the majority.
Organizers for the nation's largest veterans organization said they expect the Spokane World Series will draw 25,000 to 30,000 spectators to Vista Stadium. Fans are expected to spend more than $4 million and book about 1,000 motel-room nights in the area.
Mayor Art Ward and city Park Director Ed Swicklas were among a handful of Bristol representatives who flew to Indianapolis last weekend to make a pitch for Muzzy Field. With ESPN's backing, they said they felt they made a strong case.
Representatives from Spokane's American Legion Baseball, the Washington State American Legion, Avista Stadium and the Spokane Regional Sports Commissioned also went to Indianapolis to seek the Series, according to KOZE-AM, a Spokane radio station.
The American Legion Baseball program, which has fielded teams at Muzzy for more than 80 years, is the nation's oldest high school aged baseball program. It claims more than half of today's Major League Baseball players played on a Legion team before reaching the pros.
The Legion's National Executive Committee – the group's board of directors - made the final decision on the World Series location.
Quinlan said that he would like to have made it possible for Bristol's Fran Mullins, a baseball legend in Legion circles, to see the group's World Series in 2010 at his home field, but the panel opted for Spokane for sound reasons.
After I spoke with Quinlan, the American Legion issued this press release:
INDIANAPOLIS, May 8 PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Avista Stadium in Spokane, Wash., will be the site of the 2010 World Series of American Legion Baseball, the nation's oldest high school aged baseball program for 15- to 19-year-olds.
The National Executive Committee, the formal name of The American Legion's board of directors, announced today at its annual spring meeting here that Spokane American Legion Baseball Inc., will host the series. The American Legion World Series will feature the nation's eight regional champions in a double-elimination tournament. The five-day event will be held Aug. 13-17, 2010.
"Spokane will be an outstanding site for the series, based on its strong community support and excellent organizing committee," American Legion National Americanism Commission Chairman Joseph E. Caouette Jr. said. "The city of Spokane will be an outstanding host." This is the first time Spokane has hosted The American Legion World Series. Yakima, Wash., hosted The American Legion World Series in 1954, 1978, and 2001.
Washington American Legion teams have had excellent success playing American Legion Baseball. There are no host teams at an American Legion World Series. To participate in an American Legion World Series teams must earn the right to participate. Thirteen Washington American Legion Teams have earned that right to participate. Those cities were Bellingham (07); Bellevue (81 & 95), Kennewick (99 & 04); Pasco (05); Vancouver (87 & 96); and Yakima, Washington (53, 75, 76, 79 & 88) have participated by winning the Northwest Regional Tournament.
There are more than 5,000 registered American Legion teams. More than half of today's Major Leaguers got their start in American Legion Baseball.
Fifty-two former American Legion Baseball players have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, including Ryan Sandberg, George Brett, Bob Feller, Brooks Robinson, Yogi Berra, Jim Palmer, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Reggie Jackson, Pee Wee Reese, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers and Tom Seaver.
Organizers for the nation's largest veterans organization expect the Spokane World Series will draw 25,000 to 30,000 spectators to Vista Stadium. Fans are expected to spend more than $4 million and book about 1,000 motel-room nights. The 2.7-million member American Legion, http://www.legion.org/, is the nation's largest veterans organization.
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