The Kansas Stars will not return to Wichita for the 2018 National Baseball Congress World Series to defend their championship, according to a statement Tuesday by Stars co-founder Nate Robertson.
The Stars, a team of former major-league players, cannot attend because the Kansas Star Casino and hotel, which shared a partnership with the team, is hosting a conference during the second week of the tournament. The Stars have used 50 to 60 complimentary rooms in the past.
That conference, the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association’s yearly convention, is scheduled for Aug. 9-12, 2018. The World Series is scheduled for July 27-Aug. 11 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and the second week — championship week — begins Aug. 3.
Robertson, in a phone interview, said the Stars would have returned if the calendar had remained the same as 2017. Jenks did not return a phone call Tuesday. According to a source with the Stars, negotiations with the NBC did not lead to a compromise. The source said the team would not play in Wichita even if a compromise was offered in the future.
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The NBC and Jenks moved the tournament forward a week this year, according to the release, to avoid a similar conflict with KEMSA, which held its conference at the casino Aug. 10-13.
The Stars won last year’s World Series on Aug. 6, finishing with a 6-0 record in their second tournament appearance. The team was organized by Robertson and Fort Scott native Adam LaRoche in the summer of 2016. The team’s first version included ex-big-league stars such as Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett and Tim Hudson.
This year, the team included Chipper Jones, Roy Halladay and David Ross. The tournament’s MVP was Stars outfielder Ryan Langerhans.
Robertson didn’t close the door on the continuation of the Stars with a different city as their base.
“From a personal standpoint, being a Stars founder and homegrown Wichita, this doesn’t make the decision easy,” Robertson wrote. “Although I would never want this team to leave our town, going forward we will now have to explore the other options for the Stars.”