BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington Bobcats are back on the collegiate summer baseball scene.
The Midwest Collegiate League has announced the Bobcats will join the league for the coming season. The Bobcats take the place of the Lexington Snipes in the MCL.
Former Bobcat and current Illinois Wesleyan assistant coach Mike Brown will serve as the Bobcats’ general manager with assistance from Bloomington-Normal Baseball Association president Matt Wegner.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a few years. When Billy (DuBois) told me at the end of the summer he was dropping the Snipes, I thought the timing was perfect for bringing the Bobcats back,” Brown said. “First and foremost, we will give Bloomington-Normal kids who play college baseball the right of first refusal and fill in around them with Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State kids.”
The Bloomington Bobcats were part of the Central Illinois Collegiate League from 1963-79. That franchise became the Twin City Stars, and Ben Alsene ran the Bobcats as a separate college league team from 1982-2002.
“I checked with Ben and he was all for it,” Brown said. “Ben was the Bobcats for 20 years.”
The Bobcats will play most of their games at Bloomington’s O’Neil Park with some contests at ISU’s Duffy Bass Field or Wesleyan’s Jack Horenberger Field.
Brown plans to team with the BNBA to improve the playing surface at O’Neil for the coming season and make additional facility improvements at what used to be Bloomington-Normal’s premier baseball venue in the future.
“We’re going to spruce it up a little bit,” said Brown. “It will be nice to have it back to its old self.”
ISU senior infielder Joe Kelch will serve as the Bobcats’ field manager with former Redbird Clint Stroud as pitching coach.
DuBois also played for the Bobcats and was been the all-everything man in charge of the Snipes the past 15 years. Added responsibilities as Lexington water superintendent made continuing the Snipes difficult.
“For 15 years it was every summer not taking a vacation. It took a toll on my wife,” DuBois said. “Not that I didn’t love it, but it was pretty tough. It was a good run. I’ll give it a little break and see what else is out there.”
Brown said DuBois has been helpful with getting the Bobcats started in the MCL.
“Billy has given us the blueprint for everything,” said Brown, a Lexington native like DuBois.
The Bobcats will be among six teams in the MCL with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, the Southland Vikings, the DuPage County Hounds, the Michigan City Lakers and the Joliet Admirals.