The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy are as interested as anyone to see if “His Airness” was serious about lacing them back up at the age of 50. Jordan hinted during his 2009 Hall of Fame induction speech, “One day you may look up and see me playing the game at 50.” That created a major buzz over this past weekend as Jordan celebrated his 50th birthday. The Slammers and General Manager Chris Franklin just think everyone got worked up over the wrong sport. Oh, don’t laugh.
“Who knows how the book is written if there was no Major League Baseball strike in 1994?” Franklin said. “It worked out pretty well for Michael and basketball fans around the world, but we would like to offer MJ the opportunity to write the final chapter by playing baseball for the Joliet Slammers or, at the very least, honor him in a way nobody else has.”
The Slammers play their home games at Silver Cross Field in downtown Joliet, IL, which is 45 miles south of the United Center and slightly shorter from US Cellular Field.
“There are a lot of loyal Chicago Bulls and White Sox fans who I believe would fully support his decision to come back to the game of baseball,” Franklin said. “When he started with the White Sox, hitting coach Walt Hriniak asked him if he was serious about playing baseball. Michael may ask us the same question Walt asked him and we have the same answer he did. Dead, dead serious.”
As the offer stands, Jordan would be granted a maximum Frontier League contract of $1,600 per month with $20 daily meal money and a host family if needed, although unlikely. Players typically receive two tickets per game on the pass list, but with the overwhelming amount of family and friends in the area, the Slammers would be willing to provide Jordan with a Loaded Luxury Suite for 23 people that includes all-you-can-eat and drink hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, mustard potato salad, baked beans, cookies and Pepsi products for 90 minutes every game. The team would also be open to signing a shoe deal with Brand Jordan for the upcoming season and look into purchasing the JordanCruiser, the famous bus that Michael “bought” for his former team.
“Again, we’re serious about giving Michael the opportunity to play professional baseball with the Slammers this summer,” Franklin said. “We do have an age limit in our league, but like Nike and the red and black Air Jordan’s his rookie year in the NBA, we’ll take the fine. There are dozens of gimmicks we could throw out there in the offer, but we’re playing by the rules and think he would respect that. It could be one last challenge for the greatest competitor of all time.”
If Jordan decides to decline the Slammers offer to play, the team would still like to honor him in a way nobody else has by retiring his number 45 in a baseball stadium (Silver Cross Field) on Wednesday June 5th at 7:05 pm against the Windy City ThunderBolts. Details for the event are pending Jordan’s decision.
“Although his baseball statistics may not warrant a retired number, the reason and purpose he played professional baseball do,” Franklin said. “That’s something we want to recognize here on the South Side and give Bulls and Sox fans one last chance to honor him if he decides this is not a challenge he wants to pursue.”
For fans interested in the same Loaded Luxury Suite deal Jordan would receive, they can call (815) 722-BATS (2287) and pre-order the all-you-can-eat and drink package for only $45.00. Those looking to entertain groups of 22 to 58 can receive the same package for only $40.00 per person. Slammers Luxury Suites include wait staff service, indoor and outdoor seating, air conditioning, HD Television and the all-you-can-eat and drink menu served for 90 minutes. For more information, visit jolietslammers.com or call (815) 722-BATS (2287).
Season tickets, loaded ticket packages and group outings for the 2013 season are available now by calling 815-722-2287. The Slammers Box Office is open in the off-season from 9-5, Monday-Friday. A complete 2013 schedule can be downloaded here.