WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - The Wisconsin Woodchucks still have about a week to play, but they’ve already played their last home game in the old Athletic Park facilities.
Woodchucks team owner Mark Macdonald says now, it’s time to get ready for demolition of the old grandstand and bleachers. “We are scheduled for demolition on August 12th. If the team would make a playoff run, we would probably postpone it, but they’re in a pretty tough position right now, so it’s likely to be August 12th.”
Macdonald says the building project will make a busy off season even more hectic for the organization. “We’re looking forward to it, but it’s also scary because we’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s going to be a busy winter, probably the busiest off season the Woodchucks staff has ever experienced with a lot of architectural meetings and construction meetings, and everything like that.”
Construction will go on throughout the winter months, but Macdonald says the baseball front office will be busy getting ready for 2014. “The winter will be spent with signing contracts for advertising and promotional stuff, recruiting ballplayers, getting next year’s team back together. That starts right away, believe it or not, so we’re going to be pretty busy.”
The Woodchucks already have a good idea which baseball prospects will play in Wausau next season. Macdonald says the calls between team scouts and school coaches have already been happening. “College coaches know what their incoming freshman class looks like. They have an idea who will get playing time and who will not get playing time, and who would benefit from a season in the Northwoods League. They’re already calling us getting players in front of us for the next season.”
People of the Wausau area will have to expect some changes that Macdonald says will look unusual after demolition and before the new structure starts to go up. “They’ll first off see everything go down, and it’s going to look weird, because all you’re going to have left is that historic wall. That will be kind of an odd sight. Then things will start going up, and as they go up, they’re going to go higher and higher and higher. It’s going to be about ten feet higher than we are right now with our current grandstand.”
This is phase one of the Athletic Park renovation. The plan is to have the new grandstand and bleachers ready for spring.