Potters close out first season and working on next

Expansion could be in the works
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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The lights are out at McBean Stadium, but the midnight oil is still burning in the Lincoln Potters’ front office in preparation for the 2018 season.

Owners, managers, coaches and players found out what it takes to spend a summer in the Great West League. It was fun, sometimes hot, but always entertaining.

“The summer season is just a non-stop adventure” said Potters General Manager Matt Lundgren. “It’s really fun, but it does wear you out a little bit. I lose 10-15 pounds every summer during baseball season.”

But Lundgren’s job is far from over, as well as others with the Potters organization. Discussions are underway to improve fan facilities, recruit players and there’s talk of a league expansion.

Lundgren said the GWL would like to have at least eight teams, four in Oregon and four in Northern California. It could be set up so each team would only have to cross the border once during the season.

“I think that’s the goal, to eventually expand even past eight teams,” said Lundgren. “But immediately I think getting to eight would be big.”

Such an expansion would benefit the All Star Game by having players from the north division playing the south. It would also allow for a “World Series” type of postseason.

As for the players, field manager Eric Bloom said it was a great season, but he would like to see the scheduling changed a bit. He said if the team’s had at least one day off a week to rest, it would be possible to have day games as well.

But Bloom’s biggest concern was for the fans.

“This thing can only run if you have fans come in through the gate so why not make it more appealing for them to walk through those gates,” Bloom said. “And the fans at Lincoln were awesome. The fans that did come out, they came out in full support.”

Lundgren said the dugouts could get an overhaul before next summer. Although the eventual goal is to sink them, a plan has been proposed to temporarily move the dugouts past the grandstands so they can be covered.

Bloom is expecting a good return by those players eligible to play next season. He said players like Zach Hoffman, Zach Hall, Jake Boyd and Joseph Torres will graduate and be ineligible to return, but he said they all benefitted playing for the Potters.

“Every single one of them got better over the summer. For the players that have a chance to play professionally, they gained some insight as to what it’s going to be like when they play their first professional season,” Bloom said. “It was a very productive summer for the Lincoln Potters.”

Lundgren said the organization is already looking for players of good character and talent. He said a late start to hiring coaches and recruiting players is what hurt the 13-47 Yuba City Bears. His plan is to have the Potters’ lineup in place by Oct. 1.

“We’re blessed in the Sacramento area; it’s a hotbed of talented baseball players,” said Lundgren. “We could put together a team of local kids if we wanted to and it helps us in the long run.”

Bloom expressed his gratitude to everyone involved.

“I just want to thank the ownership group,” said Bloom. “And our GM Matt Lundgren put a lot of work in from the get-go.”

Potter up!