Barry Lyons has a dream. Someday he'd like a groundskeeper to be watering down a Biloxi infield for a minor league championship game in his hometown.
Lyons was standing near the pitcher's mound at Hollis Field when he said, "I see a lot of wonderful things. And it's all centered around baseball."
Baseball once took Lyons from Hollis Field to the major leagues. A quarter century later, he was back in Biloxi, setting up for two exhibition baseball games. If the games are a hit, Lyons may bring minor league baseball to Biloxi on a full time basis. "People love baseball," said Lyons. "And it's my bet and my goal and my vision that people will come out and support it."
Coliseum assistant director Matt McDonnell is a fan of the baseball concept. "Maybe that's going to be the next avenue that this community will take when it comes to minor league sports," said McDonnell.
Bo McMurphy knows all about minor league sports. "Minor league sports is minor league sports," the Sea Wolves general manager said. "It's affordable sports for families." McMurphy was meeting with his Sea Wolves staff. In the eight years since hockey came to Biloxi, the office staff has learned how hard it can be to run a successful minor league team. Despite championship caliber teams, the Sea Wolves sales staff is still at square one. "You know, we have to sell hockey," the team's boss told his troops. "It's football at 40 mph. And we're selling it for youth."
Since 1987, six minor league teams have played home games at the coliseum. The Sea Wolves are the only team to survive. The Fire Dogs, the Beach Kings, the Jets, the Sharks and the Gamblers all survived less than four years.
Barry Lyons says if baseball comes to Biloxi, it will be different. "I just truly believe that baseball will be a natural fit here," he said.