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T-Bones host family hopes to continue 15-year tradition despite team's eviction

Posted at 5:02 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 20:55:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan.  — After the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, evicted the Kansas City T-Bones from a city-owned Village West stadium, effective next month, fans are hopeful the team will stay put.

The T-Bones returned home Wednesday for the first time since the eviction notice for a doubleheader against the Lincoln (Nebraska) Saltdogs, which was scheduled to start at 5:05 p.m.

Rain or shine, there's one group of fans in attendance at every home game and they hope to keep that tradition alive beyond next month.

Billy and Donna Greer are a host family for the T-Bones.

The couple has housed 45 players during the last 15 years at their Shawnee home, which has years of memorabilia on display.

“As you go along, these are the players who have stayed at our house and played," Billy said. "These are jerseys that they’ve worn."

After attending their first T-Bones game, the Greer's wanted to get more involved with the team and learned of the need for host families.

“I just couldn’t bare to see guys sleeping on the floor in the locker room or having to stay at hotels," Donna said. "They needed some place where they could be comfortable."

Through the years, the Greers have seen attendance fluctuate at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. including an estimated crowd of 7,000 that Donna said came out to cheer on the team in recent weeks.

“We’re, I believe, number three in attendance in the league, so that’s pretty good," Donna said.

This season, the reigning American Association of Independent Professional Baseball T-Bones are fighting for a playoff spot. The Greers said winning another title is the main focus for the players, despite the team's uncertain future.

The Unified Government said the T-Bones have defaulted on more than $760,000 in payments.

In a letter to the team announcing the eviction, the Unified Government said all T-Bones personnel and property must be removed from the ballpark by 5 p.m. on Sept. 13, which is the same week the championship series would take place.

“I think they’re professionals and they know they have to set it aside," Donna said. "They have to do what they’re here to do, and that’s to make it to the championship and do their best."

As the team gets ready for the stretch run, fans like the Greers hope the team's playoff push won't be the last.

“I really think something's going to come, something's going to happen and we're still going to be a team," Donna said. "It may not be called the T-Bones, but we’re still going to have a team."

T-Bones President Adam Ehlert said earlier this year that the family planned to sell the team to cover its debts. He told 41 Action News that he expected the team would stay in Kansas City, Kansas, but be run under new ownership.

The Unified Government said it has several options for the future of the stadium, including marketing the space to a new baseball team or using it for other athletic events, concerts and community events.