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Stefani '04 brings baseball back to Rockford

Barry McNamara
A group of investors led by Joe Stefani ’04 has brought a baseball franchise back to Rockford, Ill. The team will participate in the Great Plains Baseball League, a summer collegiate wood bat league, and will play 27 home games in 2010 at historic Marinelli Field, starting on Memorial Day weekend.

A contest was held to the name team, and 421 entrants submitted ideas. One of the winners was Monmouth College senior Mike Diamond of Orland Park, who was one of two entrants to suggest the name "Foresters." He lost out, however, on the grand prize, which included two season tickets in the VIP seats for the 2010 season and the opportunity to throw out a first pitch during Opening Day weekend.

The team logo features a lumberjack mascot and sports the main colors green, white, gray and black.

"We feel that the Rockford Foresters name and logo represents Rockford being known as the 'Forest City' and it also represents the fighting spirit that many of the citizens of Rockford have and have shown during these tough economic times," said Stefani, who is believed to be the youngest majority owner of a U.S. sports team. "We think that we have a formula not just for a great baseball team, but for a truly affordable entertainment option for Rockford and surrounding communities."

Stefani is serious when he says "affordable." Single game tickets start at just $4 and all tickets to Tuesday night games will cost just $2. More information on the team is available at

Alumni of summer collegiate leagues include current professional stars as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Nick Swisher.