(KWCH) The Hays Larks have a unique relationship with the Kansas Stars. Hays beat the team of former Big Leaguers last year in the semifinals. However, their head coach Frank Leo is still not a fan of them being a part of the tournament.
Should the Kansas Stars be allowed to compete in the NBC World Series?— Will Kunkel (@KWCHWill) June 28, 2017
"My mindset hasn't changed, number one they're pampering them and they don't need to pamper them," says Leo. "They already know when they're playing and what day they're opening. Everything's been set for them. They don't have to earn their way in. I know you have to pamper them a little bit because they're major leaguers but this is not a major league tournament."
Leo says the tournament is for college players, although, Kevin Jenks, the tournaments director, notes the NBC World Series has a long history with semi-professional players.
Maize native and former Detroit Tiger pitcher, Nate Robertson was part of constructing the Stars.
"I know Frank Leo, I've known him for a long time, I know who he is," says Robertson. "I think any time you do something that's great for the game and great for the community, I'm all for it. If he thinks it's not great for the tournament and it's not great for Wichita, and it's a situation where he has an opinion to it, he's been around a long time. If he wants to discuss it with me in private, I don't like to discuss it through the media. But I'll talk to him all day long about it."
The money pool used to pay the tournament qualifiers as well as compensate teams who must travel long distances has increased by $10,000 since the Stars entered, from $70,000 in 2015 to more than $80,000 this year.
It should be noted, the Stars signed autographs last year at Lawrence-Dumont and donate a portion of those proceeds to local charities and donated to the NBC pool as well. The players did not take any of that money.
The tournament begins July 22.