Some news and notes from around the Winter Meetings.
* I ran into High Desert owner Bobby Brett and Bakersfield owner DG Elmore yesterday, and neither reports much progress on solving their ballpark problems.
Brett needs to find a buyer for the Mavericks since his ownership group purchased Cal League affiliate Rancho Cucamonga (owners are not allowed to have multiple teams in a league). Brett said he has had some inquiries, but it sounds like potential buyers want to have a new home for the team locked up first since local government has made it clear it is interested in renovating the team’s ballpark. There is potential for the team to move to Chico, but nothing concrete, Brett says. Same goes for potentially moving the team to a neighboring city.
Meanwhile, Elmore said no progress has been made in Bakersfield’s quest for a new facility or home. There are simply no public funds available for such a project, thus the reason for the Blaze’s potential partnership Cal State Bakersfield falling through earlier this season. New Cal League president Charlie Blaney has been charged with finding a solution in Bakersfield.
* Pat O’Conner honored a pair of outgoing league presidents at yesterday’s opening session: the Gulf Coast League’s Tom Saffell and the California League’s Joe Gagliardi. Saffel has been at the helm of the GCL for 30 years while Gagliardi steps down after 28 years in charge of the Cal League.
O’Conner did not go into the National Association’s bid to pass legislation allowing to operate the GCL internally, a cost-cutting measure, O’Conner said in a previous interview. The NA would have a staff member run the league.
* The Greenberg Sports Group, run by veteran operator Chuck Greenberg, announced that it has entered into a consulting agreement with the Eugene Emeralds as the team prepares to move into a new ballpark on the University of Oregon campus. In a release, GSG announced that it has been charged with finding strong general manager candidates, developing the structure of a front office staff, training sales staff and finding sponsors for the team and ballpark.
* I spent a significant part of yesterday at the Freitas Business Seminar, my first time at the event that reaffirms minor league baseball’s motto of "a good idea is worth sharing." I’ll have more on the event later.
* Lastly, Indianapolis has proven to be a fine location for the Winter Meetings thus far. The major league and minor league hotels are connected by an indoor walkway, which should alleviate some critics’ concerns about the cold weather, and there are a plethora of eating and drinking options nearby. Unlike major cities down South, like my native Washington, D.C., a few inches of snow hardly paralyzes a city like Indianapolis that’s used to functioning amid winter weather. In fact, we awoke yesterday morning to snow on the ground and few school cancellations on the TV. Amazing.
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