The Ghosts are on the move.
The Rockies are set to move their Rookie-level Pioneer League affiliate from Casper, where it has played for the past 10 years, to Grand Junction, Colo. The relocation is pending approval by the Grand Junction city council, which is scheduled to vote on the issue today.
Rumors of a potential move started soon after Rockies majority owners Charles and Richard Monfort purchased the Casper club last offseason. According to the Caspar Star-Tribune, the Monforts believe moving the team to a larger market in Grand Junction will provide an opportunity to develop a bigger fanbase for the club.
Playing conditions have also long been in an issue in Casper, where the Ghosts’ Mike Lansing Field has long been prone to flooding. The team had operated without a groundscrew before this season and did not have a tarp to cover the infield other than the pitcher’s mound.
In late 2008, a four-game homestand against Billings ended with just one inning being played after both team managers refused to allow their players take the field due to poor playing conditions.
“The field issues haven’t been settled, but it’s improved,” Rockies farm director Marc Gustafson said earlier this season. “When you’re talking about a field that has had so many issues with drainage problems over the years, it is probably a frustrating process for a lot of folks. But the important thing for us is having a quality surface for our players.”
The Rockies will apparently get just that in Grand Junction, whose Stocker Stadium is undergoing an $8.3 million. Also home to the Junior College World Series and Mesa State College athletics, the stadium will feature new dugouts in addition to renovated seating, concessions and concourse.