American Legion baseball team could stop playing at historical stadium

A team many of you and your kids have played for may no longer play at Brooks Stadium. After 60 years, the American Legion Post 31 baseball team thinks it will have to end a Paducah tradition.

Kentucky American Legion Baseball Commissioner Hardy Gentry says he knew something was up when American Legion signs hung at the stadium were replaced by Paducah Chiefs signs.

Brooks Stadium has seen a lot of changes since Doc Hideg started efforts to revamp it.

"We worked all winter when we learned the Chiefs were coming," Hideg said.

More changes will come this summer when the stadium welcomes the Chiefs, a college summer league team. Another possible change is the absence of the American Legion Post 31 baseball.

"We have to follow the rules. That’s what it’s about," Hideg said.

He says the team didn’t follow those rules by failing to turn in the application required to play at the stadium. Gentry says he was given a different explanation.

"Because he said it would be too much stress on the field. I don’t know what that means," Gentry said.

Students at high schools from local counties, 36 in all, play on the two American Legion teams.

"It’s 36 young men who won’t be able to play here if we don’t get things straightened out," Gentry said.

Hideg says the stadium commission is willing to consider letting the post play if it gets an application.

"We want to help the community do what’s best for the community. If someone brings us an application now with it filled out, I’d take it to our board," Hideg said.

Gentry hopes it’s all one big misunderstanding.

"We just want a chance to play, and we’ll work with these guys," he said.

We wanted to find out if other teams that play on the field had to fill out the applications. So far, I haven’t got a response.

Gentry says it will not be the end of the team. It’s just important for them to continue the tradition of playing on the field.

The stadium is owned by the city. The mayor is having a meeting Tuesday in her office with the stadium and the American Legion. She says she wants to get to the bottom of this.

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