Ceremonial home plate placed at new ballpark

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The mayor of Wichita, Jeff Longwell, and Miami Marlins and Minor League Baseball officials placed a ceremonial home plate Thursday at the construction grounds of the new ballpark, marking another step forward in the stadiums construction.

"This is a glorious day," Longwell said.

Onlookers, including construction workers, children and city officials watched in the cold weather as the home plate was placed on the ground. During the ceremony the first jersey for the city was given by the Miami Marlins organization officials to the mayor, and the first season ticket holder was announced.

"Certainly it's a wonderful day here for Wichita, for our future as you see future generations of Wichitans that are excited about this opportunity," Longwell said.

One citizen said her and her daughter are excited for the new team and stadium, and the placing of home plate made it much more exciting.

"I'm just so excited for the downtown revitalization in Wichita," said Linzett Cunningham, a Wichita resident. "We love Wichita, we plan on staying here forever, and just super excited."

Several people talked at the ceremony including the mayor, Minor League Baseball officials and Miami Marlins organization officials. Several of the children in the crowd were wearing "Wichita 2020" shirts, in reference to the first season next year with the new team and stadium.

"We took a picture with the group of young people and you hope that maybe those are some future Wichita players," said the President of Baseball Operations for the Miami Marlins Michael Hill. "You know, anything is possible and it's just great that baseball is back in Wichita for everyone."

Some of the children in the audience were from Central Christian Academy. The students at this school received turf from the original Lawrence-Dumont stadium before it was torn down.

"We ran down here to take a look at it, we didn't know if there would be a possibility of getting it," said Michael Hunter, head of schools at Central Christian Academy. "We had about a hundred volunteers show up in two days to roll, cut, turf."

He said they plan on using that turf to build a new soccer field. Linzett Cunningham said her daughter goes to the school and was one of the people who helped cut and roll up the turf.

"It's kind of neat that the kids are actually going to be able to play on the turf that was here at Lawrence-Dumont," Cunningham said.

According to mayor Longwell, they are looking for sponsorship's to name the stadium. As for the team name he said out of 3,000 submissions in a contest, it has been narrowed down to five. He also said the construction is moving right on schedule.