Wingnuts won't play in 2019

Posted: Updated:

The future of the Wichita Wingnuts baseball franchise remains a bit murky, but one development is now clear.

Miles Wolff, commissioner of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, tells the WBJ that the Wingnuts requested and were granted a suspension of play for the 2019 season during the league's annual meetings last week in Lincoln, Neb.

"The team will not operate in 2019, but took a voluntary suspension and will look at options for the 2020 season," Wolff said in an email.

Since starting as an expansion franchise in 2008, the Wingnuts played their home games at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, though the ballpark is scheduled to be razed later this year to make way for a new facility that will likely be home to a Miami Marlins farm club.

The city announced plans in September to bring the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes franchise to town as part of a deal that would include a new $80 million ballpark.

According to the American Association website, the Wingnuts on Friday traded away 15 players to other league teams, including a dozen to the Cleburne Railroaders for cash considerations.

As for what will happen to the Wingnuts franchise after next baseball season, team co-owner Gary Austerman said nothing is certain as of now.

"As far as the Wingnuts are concerned, there will be no baseball in 2019," Austerman said. "We have maintained our franchise through the 2019 season."

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