Chuck Heeman wants to make sure baseball fans in Casper know the Casper Horseheads will return for the 2021 season. Despite having to cancel their 2020 Expedition League season on June 4 because of the coronavirus pandemic and being forced out of Mike Lansing Field — its home stadium since 2018 — earlier this week, the Horseheads owner said the team will be back on the field next year.
“I didn’t want people to get the feeling that we were folding up and going away because that’s not the case,” he said. “Given the history of (minor league) sports in Casper that’s the first thing people are going to think.”
Heeman was commenting on the fact the Horseheads were forced to remove all of their equipment and supplies from Mike Lansing Field after the Casper American Legion Baseball organization brought legal action against the team. The local American Legion not only forced the Horseheads to vacate the ballpark but announced it was keeping the $7,500 the team paid to the Casper Oilers — the city’s American Legion team — for use of Mike Lansing Field in April.
According to Heeman, the Horseheads paid “about $65,000” to the American Legion in 2018 and “about $60,000” last year “just to play at Lansing Field.”
He added the Horseheads remain committed to Casper despite knowing the American Legion won’t reimburse them the $7,500.
“The American Legion is doing what they think is right and I’m not going to worry about it,” Heeman said. “We’re all going to regroup in the fall and try to work something out for the future.
“It’s extremely important for us to keep a good relationship with American Legion, and I think we have a great relationship with the city of Casper.”
Heeman fully expects that relationship to continue in the future. The Horseheads’ downtown offices remain open in Casper, the family still lives in town and the team recently announced it was adding an additional sports venture — Hoop It Up 3-on-3 basketball — that is scheduled to begin in September.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Heeman said. “We’ve committed everything we have to keeping the Horseheads in Casper. This is a blip on the radar. We just want people to know we’re not leaving Casper.”
The 2020 Expedition League season begins Friday with teams in Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Follow sports editor Jack Nowlin on Twitter @CASJackN
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