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Local News

Slammers' owner says team likely won't need rent relief from Joliet

The Joliet Slammers will play ball this summer under conditions that could be watched statewide as the team innovates to make spectator sports possible under COVID-19 restrictions
The Joliet Slammers will play ball this summer under conditions that could be watched statewide as the team innovates to make spectator sports possible under COVID-19 restrictions

The Slammers request for a rent-free year at DuPage Medical Group Field has been put on hold.

Management is hoping it will generate sufficient revenue and fans with an altered season that will include some familiar names from Major League Baseball yet to be announced.

Majority team owner Nick Semaca said he does not think the Slammers will need the city to waive the annual $75,000 rent payment now that there will be baseball at the stadium.

"I would like to avoid it (the rent waiver). That's the plan," Semaca said Tuesday. "We think it's going to be fine."

Still, Semaca said the remaining uncertainty of the altered season means the team will have to determine later whether it still needs it.

"We've got to block off 80% of our seats," he said, noting the limited attendance allowed inside DuPage Medical Group Field under social distancing restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Slammers have not yet paid any rent, missing a $37,500 payment that was due in March.

At the time, the team did not know if there would be any baseball at the stadium.

It will not be playing in a Frontier League season this year. The league canceled its season last week.

At the same time, the Slammers announced its own four-team City of Champions Cup, which will include four Joliet-based teams playing 27 games each for a total of 54 games at DuPage Medical Group Field.

The Slammers on Tuesday announced several players drafted by Major League Baseball teams that will play in Joliet this year.

Semaca said several players and managers to be announced soon will have major league experience, and a couple of the managers' names are "well known in the Joliet area."

The season starts July 16, and tryouts for the team start Monday at the stadium.

The city, which owns the stadium, was considering a pro-rata rent arrangement in place of the complete waiver originally requested by the Slammers. That, too, was put on hold before the Slammers announced that there will be baseball this summer.

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