The team updated their website for the first time since roughly September with a simple message to employees:
“W-2′s were mailed on January 31st. If you have not received one or if you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
That’s it. No mention of what the team’s office situation is or if they’re planning on paying the myriad people to whom they currently (allegedly) owe money, just a short and sweet note letting those who were employed by the team know that they’re going to be able to file their taxes. Interestingly enough as you can see from the screengrab above, the team is still actively promoting actor Kevin Costner’s involvement with the franchise. Costner has been mum on the Fielders since 2010, when he made a brief appearance at their temporary stadium.
Things are apparently going to get worse for the franchise before they get better. The Daily Herald is reporting that the state of Illinois is going to be taking a closer look at how the city of Zion spent $1.3 million in state funding that was earmarked for a new stadium. As has been well chronicled here and elsewhere, the permanent stadium never materialized for a variety of reasons. The team has played the past two seasons in a hastily constructed temporary stadium that featured a permanent playing surface, metal bleachers and trailers serving as team clubhouses. It was all branded as being professional baseball, but professional baseball it was not.
There has been no word yet on whether or not the team will play again in 2012. The field itself still stands but the bleachers and trailers have all been taken down. The North American Baseball League has removed the team from their list of franchises, though the Fielders’ logo remains on the masthead for some reason. While initially there was some suppot for the franchise in northern Illinois, it’s hard to imagine any franchise sustaining long-term financial success without a permanent place to play.