The Expedition League, the newest member of the summer collegiate wood bat baseball landscape, today announced the arrival of its Casper, Wyoming franchise. The team, owned by Chuck and Mayra Heeman, will play at Mike Lansing Field in Casper.
The Expedition League is an elite summer collegiate wood bat league that promotes affordable, wholesome family entertainment, enhances the quality of life in its member communities, provides the tools and experience to optimize collegiate players’ development and potential to play professional baseball, while providing the infrastructure and support necessary for the success of the league affiliated team owners. Casper will join EL teams in Hastings and Gering, NE, and Rapid City and Spearfish, SD, in the league’s Clark (southern) Division.
The teams play a 64-game season beginning in May and ending in early August each year. The Casper team will open the 2018 season at Mike Lansing Field on May 25 in conjunction with the league’s Opening Night.
“I’m very pleased that Casper is part of the Expedition League’s inaugural season of 2018,” Expedition League President Steve Wagner said.” Casper is a great city and Mike Lansing Field is an outstanding ballpark. I’m excited for the people of Casper and the surrounding communities. Expedition League baseball features high-caliber collegiate talent and a fun, fan-first entertainment experience. We look forward to a fun-filled summer at Mike Lansing Field in 2018!”
About the owners
Chuck Heeman, a 25-year veteran in the professional sports industry, was the founding General Manager of two prior summer collegiate teams in Oregon, the Klamath Falls Gems and Medford Rogues. He also served as General Manager for four professional minor league baseball clubs and as Operations Manager with the Arizona Diamondbacks for four years. From 2015 until August 2017 he worked with the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds at their Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Arizona, serving as Ticket Sales & Operations Coordinator with the City of Goodyear. Mayra Heeman worked with her husband for five years as a volunteer in Oregon, coordinating host families, social media and game day operations as well as being a leading force in sponsorship and ticket sales.
“Mayra and I are thrilled beyond words to be in Casper and a part of the Expedition League,” Chuck Heeman said. “Our years running summer collegiate teams together were the most challenging and the most fun I’ve had in this business. We’ve been looking for a chance to own our own teams and the Expedition League is the right place for us. When we explored owing teams, Casper jumped right out at us as a fantastic market where we can really create a great family-friendly entertainment venue. It’s a great market, a fantastic ballpark and we’ve already seen great enthusiasm from the fan base. We’ll have a lot of fun here and we invite everyone in Casper and Eastern Wyoming to join us.”
The Heemans visited Casper in July to meet with City and business leaders, visit the ballpark and continue sub-lease negotiations with Casper Baseball Club Inc. that had begun with Expedition League President Steve Wagner. The Heemans are in the process of relocating to Casper to operate the new team as well as oversee operations for Expedition League teams they own in Western Nebraska and Aberdeen, South Dakota.
“We’re very happy to be working with the American Legion baseball program here in Casper,” Chuck Heeman said. “Casper is a tremendous baseball town with a rich and successful American Legion baseball history and we all wanted to make sure our presence here is a positive thing for the Legion program. CBCI is a great organization and rightfully very proud of what’s beenaccomplished here. We come in with great respect for Legion baseball in Casper and we wanted to make sure we got this leaseright and form a successful long-term partnership.”
Collegiate player commitments including first official signee
The team has five players already committed; two from North Dakota State, two from the University of Kansas and one from
Minot State. Curtis Stahlecker, a junior first baseman and right-handed pitcher from Minot State, is the first official signee of the
new team. Stahlecker has family in Casper and was a batboy for the Casper Rockies as a youth. The remaining player names will be
announced when contracts are returned.
“We’ve already received commitments from a number of schools to send players to us next summer,” Chuck Heeman said. “I
thank Mayra for that. She’s built a great reputation among college coaches we’ve worked with in the past and they know if they
send their guys to us they’ll be in good hands. As we continue to contact the coaches we’ve worked with as they enter their fall
baseball seasons, we know we’ll be seeing more player commitments from those schools. Right now the players are just reporting
to school and their teams and coaches need to evaluate their guys before they decide who to send where for summer ball. With
that, we’ll have news on particular players and additional schools very soon. We’re just getting started.”
Heeman said that to date, the University of Kansas, North Dakota State, Minot State, Nebraska-Omaha, the University of Colorado
at Colorado Springs, Creighton, and the University of New Mexico have committed to send players to the new team. Per NCAA
rules a team may have up to four players from any particular school. NAIA and NJCAA schools can send more than four players.
The team is finalizing negotiations for a Head Coach and plans to make an announcement before October 15.
The new team will hold a “guess the team name” contest through October 4 through the team e-mail, Facebook and Twitter
accounts. Fans will be given a choice of four names and can guess what the team name will be. The team will then pick a random
entry from those with the right choice and that person will win two full season tickets, a team jersey, cap and throw out a
ceremonial first pitch at the team’s Opening Night, May 25, 2018. The name, logo and winner will be announced October 18.
Fans can put deposits on season tickets in the fixed-back seating area immediately by clicking here, by e-mailing the team at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Team officials will contact fans in order of contact received. Seat selection will go in order of
purchase. Fixed-back seat season tickets are $249 ($7.80 per game) and deposits are $100 per seat to hold a spot in the selection
order. The first three rows at Mike Lansing Field will be Premium Seating with season tickets priced at $299 ($9.34 per game).
Host families needed for players and interns
The new team is looking for a number of host families to house players and interns for the summer months. Interns arrive in mid-
May and players in late May, all stay through early August. Players will be on the road for half the season and at your home when
the team is in town. Families need to provide a bed and safe housing. Host families receive free season tickets for members of
their household, discounts on concessions and souvenirs, hosted Party Deck nights and many other perks.
“Hosting a player is a great mentoring program for families that have young ballplayers of their own,” Mayra Heeman said. “What
better way to show your young ballplayer that they need to stay in school, play fair and be good citizens than having an actual
college ballplayer in your home? We screen our players carefully and match them with a family and we’ve found that the players
and host families form life-long friendships. It really is all about family and this is a great way to add to yours.”
Contact the team
Those interested in tickets, being a host family or a business sponsor can contact Casper’s new Expedition League team by emailing
to email@example.com, visiting the team’s Facebook page at Casper Summer Baseball or the team Twitter
account, @BaseballCasper. The team opens its office at Mike Lansing Field immediately and further contact information will be
released as it becomes available.
“Our lease is signed, the office is open and we’re up and running,” Chuck Heeman said “Now it’s