Senators to stay put in Jackson
By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
April 30, 2004
JACKSON Don't assume that tonight's Jackson Senators exhibition game at Choctaw Central High School is a visit to a possible new home.
Craig Brassfield, general manager of the independent Central Baseball League franchise, insists that the Senators will remain in Jackson in 2005 despite incoming competition from the Atlanta Braves AA minor league team just 15 miles away in Pearl.
The Senators, in their third year of existence, are the current holder's of Jackson's long line of pro baseball teams. The Jackson Mets and the Jackson Generals kept AA baseball in Jackson for three decades, but declining attendance led to the Generals' sale and move to Texas in 1999.
After the same light fan turnout caused the failure of the independent Jackson Diamond Kats, the Senators became the tenants of Smith-Wills Stadium in 2002.
Brassfield said the Senators will survive financially not only through baseball attendance, but with concerts, college baseball games and other events at Smith-Wills. The team's lease at the stadium runs through 2005, and Brassfield said negotiations are already taking place to keep the team at Smith-Wills through 2009.
But Brassfield readily admits the Senators, whose team is made up mostly of players trying to get back into Class A or AA ball, will be in no position to compete directly with the Mississippi Braves.
When the two teams have home games at the same time, Brassfield said the Senators may barnstorm across the state, much as they will tonight in Choctaw. Brassfield cited Meridian and Hattiesburg as possible venues for out-of-town home games.