By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Quincy Gems season is fast approaching and team officials are breathing a sigh of relief because the Prospect League schedule does not include extensive travel out east.
Rob Ebbing, executive director of the Oakley-Lindsay Center and the Quincy Gems, told the Quincy Civic Center Authority on Wednesday that the first schedule proposed contained extensive travel in the league's East Division, including games in West Virginia.
However, a revised schedule will limit travel to the Western Division sites, except for the All-Star Game and the playoffs.
"At one time, we were looking at where we were on the road 12 out of 18 days and two major trips out east," Ebbing said. "The travel expenses would have been astronomical."
He said limited road trips are hoped to stem costs.
"With the economy and the way the weather has been the last two years, everybody feels it's the best for the league and for all the teams to stay closer to home, keep costs down, and hope for a good season weather-wise, so that we can bring some of the profits back that we haven't seen for the last two years."
Last season, the team reported a loss of $23,178. The Gems lost $24,000 the previous season.
Because of the schedule change, the Gems will now host Terre Haute Rex for two doubleheaders. The Gems will also be play three split doubleheaders with the Hannibal Cavemen.
"I'm kind of excited that we're able to do the split doubleheaders with Hannibal, which helps us out quite a bit that we don't have two home games on the same day," he said.
The authority also heard that County Market has decided to terminate its concession stand agreement with the Gems. Ebbing said the team has been in contacted by a few companies who are interested in providing concession services, and the team is considering operating concessions itself.
"We appreciate (County Market) giving us timely notice, so that we can study it intelligently and make the best decision for the season," he said.
In other business, Ebbing told the board that the storage trailers that were in the south parking lots at the Oakley-Lindsay Center have been removed. The equipment from the trailers is now stored in rented storage space as the authority waits to hear from the state when it will receive a grant to build on-site storage.
Ebbing also told the authority that the restoration of the concrete floors in the McClain and Kent exhibition halls is continuing.
"They still have another level or two of polishing on that," he said.