Toledo Talk

LCRC improvement potential

Curious.....have there been any whispers of improving the utilization of the LCRC? Seems like thats been a forgotten destination. Im guessing its in need of re-invention and some investment. Any ideas from TT how it could be improved or used in the future?

On a related note.....for a good chuckle, I like to compare and contrast the Mud Hens experience between LCRC and downtown. They literally could not even give tickets away when they played in Maumee.

created by BulldogBuckeye on May 12, 2017 at 07:47:59 am     Comments: 30

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This is a very minor improvement, but one thing I'd like to see done is a more prominent entry/exit from Michigan (Eastgate). In the rare instance of a busy event at the LCRC, it can be such a mess trying to get out of there when everyone is trying to pour onto the same road. It's the same problem at Stranahan - backups for half an hour because the entire line of cars has to sit and wait for traffic to clear for people needing to make a left turn out of the parking lot.

posted by Johio83 on May 12, 2017 at 08:10:51 am     #  

Lots of great great memories of the pools at LCRC. Good times.

posted by BulldogBuckeye on May 12, 2017 at 08:56:44 am     #   1 person liked this

Times have changed. Minor league ballplayers were treated more like a sub-human scum culture in Gene Cook's day. Treated rough, use 'em up and only the strongest survived. Today they are a corporate investment to be nurtured and developed.

posted by Mariner on May 12, 2017 at 09:20:23 am     #  

Personally, as a maumee resident - I'd like to see it removed and rezoned residential.

posted by endcycle on May 12, 2017 at 09:23:37 am     #   1 person liked this

Mariner posted at 10:20:23 AM on May 12, 2017:

Times have changed. Minor league ballplayers were treated more like a sub-human scum culture in Gene Cook's day. Treated rough, use 'em up and only the strongest survived. Today they are a corporate investment to be nurtured and developed.

Corporate investment, nonprofit... something.

posted by justread on May 12, 2017 at 09:37:11 am     #  

Mariner, I know you like to wax poetic, but do you have any evidence to back that up? I mean, we're talking about professional baseball players under contract in the 80's and 90's, not the aughts and teens.

posted by Johio83 on May 12, 2017 at 09:37:31 am     #   1 person liked this

Make Opel happy with a ferris wheel theme park. Better yet make the local paper happy and make it another dog park. Arf Arf.

posted by Mariner on May 12, 2017 at 09:38:39 am     #  

83 was reflecting back to earlier than 80's. Did business with them at the time and it was not exactly a glamour life for the players. They were there because they Loved the game.

posted by Mariner on May 12, 2017 at 09:41:40 am     #  

I saw Bull Durham.

posted by justread on May 12, 2017 at 09:47:09 am     #  

Mariner, Id say how the players are treated has absolutely nothing to do with the apathy people had towards attending games at the LCRC vs the record crowds at 5/3rd. To the contrary. It all has to do with the stadium and the surroundings. The game and the players is secondary now. In the days of the LCRC, it wa ALL about the players, which I think its proven, is not enough for John Q Public to want to attend a game more than once every 5 years or so....and none of it about the stadium and gameday atmosphere.

posted by BulldogBuckeye on May 12, 2017 at 09:57:05 am     #  

I heard IKEA is looking at the site. Might be a bidding war with Trader Joe's.

posted by JoeyGee on May 12, 2017 at 10:09:15 am     #   2 people liked this

I assume that for minor league baseball games, it's not what is happening on the field that matters. It's the experience elsewhere within the stadium that attracts fans.

I suppose that some minor league baseball fans intently watch the play on the field and care about who wins. But I'm guessing that many fans simply enjoy an evening or afternoon out with family and friends, and the new stadium provides a much nicer venue than the old stadium.

The new stadium provides better views of the field, more comfortable seating, and nicer amenities. Sometimes new and shiny wins out. And having numerous restaurants and bars around the new stadium is a bonus to baseball patrons.

The marketing and public relations related to the Hens seems much different today, compared to 20 years ago. Even the old stadium may have attracted a few more fans if the team and experience were promoted like it is today.


Regarding the pay for minor league baseball players, I heard this NPR story earlier this month that said on average, minor league baseball players earn less than the U.S. minimum wage.

The average annual salary across all minor league levels is $7,500. The average annual salary for the Majors is $4.4 million. That's motivation for trying hard in the minors.

Major League Baseball said the federal minimum wage does not apply to minor league players because those players are considered to be short-term, seasonal apprentices. Most minor league players sign a standard seven-year contract.

I don't know if minor league pay was relatively worse 20 to 30 years ago.

Dozens of minor league baseball players contend they aren't paid enough. Their class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball is entering its third year with little change on or off the diamond.

Minor League Baseball has never been a big money maker. Most players at this level don't even earn minimum wage.

In five Minor League seasons, pitcher Tyler DeLoach racked up 457 strikeouts. The 6-foot-6-inch lefthander was good enough to get to Triple-A, one level away from the promised land, the majors. But last year at age 25, he quit the game.

His wage and salary form said he made between $14,000 and $15,000 for a season of playing pro ball.

His dad, who'd been a financial safety net, got sick and died. It forced DeLoach to take stock. Last season in Triple-A, he made 2,200 a month before taxes.

Just one step up the ladder in the majors, the lowest paid players made 42,000 a month.

After paying rent, student loans, car payment, clubhouse dues, food, gas cellphone, DeLoach hoped to break even. And like all minor leaguers, he got paid only during the season from April to September - no pay for spring training.

But here's the thing about Tyler DeLoach. He was better off than most minor leaguers.

The average Minor League Baseball player is getting around $7,500 [a year] or less.

Attorney Garrett Broshuis says that figure includes all levels of Minor League Baseball, and it's about half of what a full-time minimum-wage worker in the U.S. makes.

MLB pays Minor League salaries, and Broshuis wants minor leaguers bumped up at least to full-time minimum-wage pay.

BROSHUIS: This is a $10 billion industry that has seen just revenue grow exponentially in recent years. And so they can certainly afford to pay these guys $15,000 per year.

If each team paid that amount to its roughly 250 minor leaguers, it would cost about $3.75 million. That's a year's salary for one Major League player not quite making the average of 4.4 million. Major League Baseball can afford it but doesn't think it should have to.

MLB responded to an interview request by emailing a statement. It says, federal guarantees of minimum wage and overtime pay don't apply to Minor League players. The majority of those players, says MLB, are short-term, seasonal apprentices.

But minor leaguers typically sign a standard seven-year contract, and they work 50 to 60 hours a week at spring training and work during the off season on baseball skills and fitness all for no pay.

There's no Minor League players union. Garrett Broshuis would love to see one in the future. For now, he's focused on the lawsuit which includes several thousand minor leaguers.

posted by jr on May 12, 2017 at 10:43:46 am     #  

As another poster already said... LCRC is a dead spot... might as well tear it down and re-zone it as residential.

posted by odnation on May 12, 2017 at 10:58:57 am     #  

nice post jr... thanks. there must be an incredible disparity across even a single team's roster. sure seems there ought to be a graduated minimum salary escalating as you move up. i would sure hate to think, for example, that for all Mike Hessman did for Toledo baseball that he didnt take a huge financial hit

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on May 12, 2017 at 11:20:51 am     #  

terrible use of language there but i hope you get the point...

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on May 12, 2017 at 11:22:33 am     #  

I could be wrong...but I bet Mike Hessman is a millionaire. If not, hes likely wealthier than probably anyone on this board. :>)

posted by BulldogBuckeye on May 12, 2017 at 11:23:53 am     #  

I don't know the ins and outs of minor league contracts, but there's a huge discrepancy between those who are on the 40 man roster and those who are not. If you are, you're basically being treated as a "could be getting a call up" guy, and making the appropriate money for that role.

posted by Johio83 on May 12, 2017 at 11:33:03 am     #  

BulldogBuckeye posted at 12:23:53 PM on May 12, 2017:

I could be wrong...but I bet Mike Hessman is a millionaire. If not, hes likely wealthier than probably anyone on this board. :>)

Nope. Even the house he bought in 2004 for $325K after he was signed by Atlanta is for sale. At a loss. :(

posted by justread on May 12, 2017 at 12:04:33 pm     #  

Heck, there are some (very good) full time Tigers who aren't making squat compared to others on the team.

posted by Foodie on May 12, 2017 at 02:16:29 pm     #  

They should tear down the LCRC and redevelop it. I was only at one Mudhen's game in my life the entire time they were in Maumee and I know no one that had season seats.

The annual Toledo cat show is held at the LCRR (they need to move it to the Seagate center) and the place is really dated and last couple years some high school sporting event was going on and parking was a pain.

posted by jamesteroh on May 12, 2017 at 02:33:23 pm     #  

I agree about the Stranahan being a pain to exit after an event. If they aren't going to have a traffic light there they need to have a traffic cop or security person out on Heatherdowns after a major event directing traffic. I saw Kristin Chenoweth when she was here recently and while I appreciate the free parking it took me a good half hour to get from the parking lot onto Heatherdowns.

posted by jamesteroh on May 12, 2017 at 02:35:52 pm     #  

jamesteroh posted at 03:35:52 PM on May 12, 2017:

I agree about the Stranahan being a pain to exit after an event. If they aren't going to have a traffic light there they need to have a traffic cop or security person out on Heatherdowns after a major event directing traffic. I saw Kristin Chenoweth when she was here recently and while I appreciate the free parking it took me a good half hour to get from the parking lot onto Heatherdowns.

The last two large events that I've went to at the Stranahan had cops directing traffic. Maybe it's only done if they have a patrol available?

posted by dell_diva on May 12, 2017 at 05:26:35 pm     #  

It's a shame to read some of the perspectives on the LCRC, mainly because I have rather fond memories of the place. I grew up fewer than 2 miles away (Toledo side) and I saw plenty of Mud Hen games there as a kid.

But time marches on and through neglect, poor planning, lack of facility updates, movement of events, and perception, it is now a giant underutilized space (unfortunately).

1.) The pools (swimming and diving) are long gone. I remember their heyday well. Probably a monument to piss as most municipal pools tend to be, but we didn't care (and I'm still alive, so no ill effects). But those were an everyday-in-the-summer draw. Now, nothing to draw people everyday.

2.) The Mud Hens are gone. There has been no reason to pay for upkeep on that stadium. Should have been knocked down maximum 2 years after they left. It wasn't going to turn back into a sprint car racing venue again (the grandstand that faces Key Street--the third base line grandstand--was actually the grandstand for the old Fort Miami Speedway back in the 40s & 50s). So level it.

Oh wait what am I saying. Can't even knock down an outdated courthouse around here without someone comparing it to a rape of the culture (not an exaggeration). So there it sits...rotting more every year with minimal upkeep.

3.) There are like 8 or 9 other baseball softball fields in the complex. Unfortunately, and in a stunning bit of county/municipal gamesmanship and planning, Rolf Park was built by the city of Maumee and there went any sort of use for the fields at the Rec Center. And Rolf has soccer fields -- many of them. Rec Center---oh maybe if you play in the middle of the running track. Sheesh.
Goodbye Rec Center.

4.) The running track/athletic field sucked when I was in grade school 30 years ago and something tells me there hasn't been a real influx of repair dollars in the intervening time. Tennis courts might have lasted...they were OK at the time.

5.) Basketball courts at the "Rec Center". Oh yeah, there's.....one. Hmmm. Yeah, basketball isn't that popular anyway.

6.) The two exhibition halls are suitable for arts and crafts and chickens and rabbits during the fair, but the days when people are going to pay big bucks to rent 'em are long gone. God, even now I think about that terrible food Gladieux Enterprises used to sell there for exorbitant prices....<shudder>

It's just a dead complex. Didn't have to be this way, but without strong advocates, a series of anchor events, proper facilities for games/leagues (jesus, how about just a fucking skateboard park for the kids? Or more basketball courts?), nothing will happen.

It's over. Stop squandering dollars and just demo at this point.

posted by oldhometown on May 12, 2017 at 07:14:30 pm     #  

I spent about 18 years growing up in Maumee so I'll weigh in. Hardly anyone who lives in Maumee or the surrounding area uses the rec center. Since the pools closed and Mud Hens moved downtown, the whole property barely gets used most of the time. Take a walk around the grounds sometime - you might see another human. These days it's main purposes are the cat show, the Lucas County fair, the rib-off, and random sporting events like the national handball championship. Do they still have softball leagues there?

I'll voice my support for rezoning residential. Unless the city someday resumes annexing Monclova, they are residentially landlocked. The rec center site is big. They could probably fit 150 homes there. Make it nice... something nearby residents would use. Keep a couple tennis courts, add a new pool and a walking track. Scrap everything else. Move the barns and fair animals out to Whitehouse or someplace that still has farms.

posted by mixman on May 12, 2017 at 07:23:09 pm     #  

"These days it's main purposes are the cat show, the Lucas County fair, the rib-off, and random sporting events like the national handball championship."

And the Glass City Beer Festival.

posted by jr on May 12, 2017 at 08:56:26 pm     #  

A couple notes:

1. The minimum salary in 2017 for a major-league baseball player is $535,000 a year.

2. The Lucas County rec center has seven softball fields. One has been converted to a full-time youth baseball field, with a very nice left-field wall that resembles Fenway park. There are still many youth softball and baseball games that are played at the rec center.

3. At least one of the indoor exhibition halls has been converted into an indoor soccer/baseball/softball facility. There are many youth teams that use this indoor practice facility during the winter.

4. The Roy Hobbs baseball league still uses Ned Skeldon Stadium for their baseball league on Sundays. They have been maintaining the field for the last 15 years, mostly at their own cost. I also believe that there are some high school playoff games that are played at Ned Skeldon.

posted by JohnnyMac on May 12, 2017 at 09:25:59 pm     #  

I agree Mixman. The LCRC is DOA. The whole thing is run down and a waste of public dollars. I like the idea of keeping part of it as a park (maybe a metropark). However, the rest should be sold off to developers for housing.

1. Riboff - move it elsewhere..why not downtown?

2. Fair - out to the Anthony Wayne area.

3. Cat Show - Downtown

posted by Dappling2 on May 14, 2017 at 06:16:22 pm     #  

JohnnyMac posted at 10:25:59 PM on May 12, 2017:

A couple notes:

1. The minimum salary in 2017 for a major-league baseball player is $535,000 a year.

2. The Lucas County rec center has seven softball fields. One has been converted to a full-time youth baseball field, with a very nice left-field wall that resembles Fenway park. There are still many youth softball and baseball games that are played at the rec center.

3. At least one of the indoor exhibition halls has been converted into an indoor soccer/baseball/softball facility. There are many youth teams that use this indoor practice facility during the winter.

4. The Roy Hobbs baseball league still uses Ned Skeldon Stadium for their baseball league on Sundays. They have been maintaining the field for the last 15 years, mostly at their own cost. I also believe that there are some high school playoff games that are played at Ned Skeldon.

TVC hosts volleyball tournaments over several weekends during the club season too.

posted by mom2 on May 14, 2017 at 08:29:09 pm     #  

I remember when...... I grew up a mile from the Rec. Center , Glendale and Eastgate , I practically lived at the Rec. during the summer. At the pools the bike racks were full ,cars dropping kids off and picking them up. There were days when you had a hard time finding a spot to jump in the pool. They even had evening hours , I believe they stayed open till 9 - 10 at night. They had lighted tennis courts , at times you had to wait for a court. They had indoor tennis in one of the exhibits halls a couple of winters. The county presented a Master Plan 10 - 15 years ago for the Rec. with a waterpark center stage. The glaring omission in that plan was probably the best tenant they've had there , the quarter midget group that has a track there. The group holds events at least a couple times a month and are well attended , and family friendly. I don't understand why the local high schools can't use that stadium for their games and tournaments , Bowsher ,Maumee , and St.Johns especially. The place could be nice again and it doesn't seem to need a lot to do it , it has good bones .

posted by marving on May 15, 2017 at 08:11:42 am     #  

Do any of the commenters talking about the LCRC being "dead" actually head out that way often? My wife and I moved to the Maumee neighborhood across Key St. almost a year ago. While I've never been inside the Ned, the parking lots at the LCRC seems to be packed almost every weekend. In the colder months, the parking lots are packed almost every weekend with the various craft shows, gun shows, Beerfest, etc. And the baseball and softball fields seemed to be heavily utilized, many nights during the week and every weekend. The Toledo Sport and Social Club uses the space for various intramurals. The buildings could certainly use a facelift, but I'd hate to see it rezoned for residential. And don't give the Ribfest any ideas about moving downtown. I love being able to walk there, get some great barbecue, and watch excellent concerts for $10-15.

posted by ToledoTen on May 15, 2017 at 04:28:01 pm     #