RailCats, U.S. Steel renew Steel Yard naming rights deal
By Steve T. Gorches 648-3141 or email@example.com March 20, 2013 12:46PM
The RailCats get ready to play the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at U.S. Steel Yard on opening day of the 2011 season. ON Wednesday the RailCats and U.S. Steel announced a new 10-year agreement to keep the name of stadium the same. | Sun-Times Media file photo
Updated: April 22, 2013 12:07PM
GARY — Fans of the RailCats don’t need to worry about losing the U.S. Steel Yard name on the stadium for another 10 years.
Called a “beacon of baseball” by one of the officials on hand at the park Wednesday afternoon, the naming rights of the stadium were up for renegotiation. The park’s name was last negotiated in 2003.
The stadium will keep the U.S. Steel Yard name through 2022.
“All of our fans know this place as U.S. Steel Yard and it’s great to keep that going for 10 more years,” RailCats president and general manager Kevin Spudic said. “This is déjà vu for me since 10 years ago I was here putting together the first deal. It’s been a pleasure working with U.S. Steel.”
The feeling is mutual from the other side of the tracks across U.S. 20 in the shadow of the left field fence.
“Just as they appreciate us, we appreciate them,” said Al Spajer, who is the director of employee relations at U.S. Steel. “We are absolutely delighted to continue our relationship with the RailCats.”
The RailCats have enjoyed a home-field advantage at the more than 6,000-fan capacity U.S. Steel Yard, winning a pair of Northern League titles (2005 and 2007) before moving to the American Association a couple years ago.
In addition to RailCats games, U.S. Steel Yard will host the annual High School Challenge for an 11th season with high school baseball teams from the area. It has also hosted an NCAA baseball regional, the Horizon League Tournament, boxing, concert events and a Michael Jackson tribute.
“U.S. Steel has been here since the beginning of the city of Gary and we’ve been here since the beginning of this ball park,” said U.S. Steel general manager Matthew Perkins.