Marinelli Field is owned by the Park District, and is the old ballpark downtown off South Main Street that used to be the home to Rockford's pro baseball teams. No, the Aviators won't be moving to Marinelli. They'll continue to play ball at their stadium off East Riverside near the Tollway.
What they have agreed to do is maintain Marinelli field for the Park District. They plan to use the old ballpark to host youth baseball tournaments and other sporting events there.
Seventeen tournaments have already been scheduled for this summer. Many of them will be USSSA events.
Rockford College will also host tournaments at Marinelli. Concerts and other sporting events such as soccer games will also be held there.
The Aviators are also hoping that by having two stadiums under their wings they can attract larger tournaments to town with games going on at both facilities.
"To have two facilities like that in close proximity is amazing," says Aviators President Bryan Wickline. We're so excited to bring in bigger tournaments and allow the community to use it (Marinelli) as much as they want whenever they can and pair it up with Aviators Stadium."
But before any events can take place at Marinelli Field some improvements need to be made at the ballpark.
"It just needs a little TLC and some paint," says Wickline.
The last three years the Rockford Foresters college-age wooden bat baseball team played at Marinelli field. Foresters owner Joe Stefani says the Rockford Park District has broken it's lease with his team. He accuses the park district of not following through on the terms of their agreement. Park District officials claim that the Foresters haven't paid their bills.
With no home ballpark now the Foresters will be a traveling team this summer and play all of their games on the road.