The Comeback of the Lincoln Potters
written by Sara Preston
The Lincoln Potters Baseball Club is making a comeback this season in the Great West League after playing in the Placer Nevada League for 45 years, from 1923-1968. The Great West League consists of the Potters, Marysville Gold Sox, Yuba City Bears, Chico Heat, and two teams from Oregon, the Medford Rogues and the Portland Pickles.
“The town has been excited about bringing baseball back to Lincoln for years before Matt, the General Manager, and myself came into the picture,” Justin Wardlaw, Director of Sales for the Potters, said. “There is such a history of baseball in this area, especially with the nostalgia of the Lincoln Potters in 1923-1968. Lincoln is a very small city, 45,000 people, but is the fastest growing city in California.”
Since the early-2000’s, there has been a “bring back the Potters” undercurrent throughout the town of Lincoln. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that action started to take place, and it came from a sports tourism/economic perspective. A joint Economic Development/Parks and Recreation committee was formed to define and expand Lincoln’s sports tourism business in 2014. The first task of the committee was to come up with facilities in Lincoln that could attract tournaments to the area.
“At some point, we focused mainly on the recently-renovated McBean Stadium,” President of Lincoln Parks and Recreation Committee, Roger Ueltzen, said. “It eventually led to us reaching out to the Great West League, who then established a franchise in Lincoln. Attracting a collegiate wood-bat team to use McBean Stadium was the driving economic development goal in our initial outreach effort. And it turned out William Jessup University, a local university, was trying to work out an arrangement where they would use McBean Stadium as the home field for their baseball team.”
Once the Potters organization was a set deal, they started getting the word out via social media, mainly Facebook, as well as going to other organizations and discussing details with locals to help keep the town informed.
“In November, which was a late start in this industry for a June First Opening Day, we began marketing the team to the city of Lincoln,” Wardlaw said. “For about a month, we went door to door to businesses every day to introduce our team and our vision for the Summer season. We also have trade deals with local newspapers and magazine publications which features our brand and ticket/sponsor information in weekly and monthly circulations.”
It was just the beginning of what was to come, but the town of Lincoln was on board, including Kris Wyatt, President of Friends of McBean, a 501c3 non-profit that serves the downtown Lincoln community. “The town is super excited, they are embracing the whole package,” Wyatt said. “Old-timers as well as newbies are excited for a new destination place. There’s excitement, revenue and people coming from all around to have a fun time and enjoy the All-American Sport of baseball!”
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