BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Could the Shuckers be playing in the stadium as soon as May? A new deal might make that a possibility according Tim Bennett with the Shuckers' organization. The new agreement passed unanimously in a special meeting held Tuesday morning.
As the start to minor league baseball season approaches, one of the main concerns Biloxi faces is penalties: $10,000 per home game not played at MGM Park. A new agreement will limit those fees, according to Acting Mayor Kenny Glavan.
"It gives us the opportunity to relieve some of those $10,000 per game penalties," said Glavan.
The agreement is between the city, the Shuckers, and Yates, and it changes a few details.
There was already a June 1st completion deadline in place for penalties to be waived, due to a recent contract change. The team requested a change to that agreement. Now, major components have to be finished by June 1, and minor components by July 1.
"If those benchmarks are not met, then the city gets relieved of all the liquidated penalties and damages," said Glavan.
Glavan called it a win-win scenario and claimed that communication was key in working out the details.
"To get everybody in the room, don't lose focus on what we're trying to achieve," said Glavan.
Tim Bennett is happy with the deal.
"As long as we can operate safely and the boys can play ball, we want to get in there," said Bennett.
He said that's why he and the team agreed to front around $925,000 to speed up construction.
But Bennett's goal isn't just to meet the deadline.
"I'm pushing to have everything finished way before June 1," said Bennett.
He's hoping to have everything on his end complete about two and a half weeks before June. But even after he finishes it doesn't necessarily mean the stadium will be.
"It means that now that I've gotten my work done, now if Yates can match that then perhaps we can get in the stadium sooner," said Bennett.
Some of the equipment that Bennett said will be necessary to play ball include signage, seating, and the two scoreboards that the team is providing with its contribution. Glavan claims the fan experience will not be sacrificed.
"We'll have the best experience in the Southern Baseball League bar none," he said.
There are several items that the new agreement addresses as not necessary for opening day. One of those items is finished suites. According to Bennett, the suites will be substantially complete before the June deadline, but may not be finished yet.
It's still too early for any officials to announce an opening day.