The New York-Penn League has reached an agreement with the city of Norwich to relocate one ifs 14 teams there, and will announce which club is coming to town at a press conference on Friday.
NYPL president Ben Hayes has issued a gag order to all league and team officials, so there has been no confirmation about which team will relocate. There has been speculation that Oneonta will be the team on the move. The Tigers were sold by Sam Nader in 2008 to Miles Prentice (who also owns the Double-A Midland Rockhounds). Part of the deal included Prentice agreeing to keep the team in Oneonta through the 2010 season.
"Part of the contract was they would honor the current contract with the city," Nader told the Oneonta Daily Star. "They would be here through 2010 . . . "It would be a lack of honesty (if he left). But who knows? I still say they are good people. My experience was always very good."
Oneonta drew a league-worst 23,521 fans in 24 openings last season. Just ahead of the Tigers was the Batavia Muckdogs, which drew 35,620 in 37 openings. The Muckdogs are entering their third season of being operated by Triple-A neighbor Rochester. At December's Witner Meetings, before the announcement of the NYPL move, Rochester president Naomi Silver said that they will continue operating the Muckdogs in 2010.
Nearly three months after veteran general manager Bruce Baldwin stepped down from his post with Triple-A Gwinnett, the second-year franchise tapped another experienced front-office executive to fill his shoes.
North Johnson, who has spent the past three seasons running the high Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, was named general manager of the Gwinnett Braves this morning. Johnson has spent 32 years as a minor league general manager, including stints with the high Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (2004-06) and the high Class A Kinston Indians (1987-2003).
Johnson has been named Carolina League executive of the year four times, the most recent coming in 2008 when he oversaw the Pelicans' $2.5 million renovation project and guided the team to a club-record attendance total. That experience should come in handy with Gwinnett, which is entering its second season since relocating from Richmond to a new ballpark in the Atlanta suburb. The G-Brave's 2009 debut was mixed, as the club drew an average of 5,966 fans–a 34 percent increase from its final season in Richmond, but a showing that ranked 12th in the 14-team International League. [...] Continue Reading »
The city of Norwich, Conn., is close to bringing baseball back to town just four months after seeing the Double-A Connecticut Defenders relocate to Richmond.
The Norwich Baseball Stadium Authority on Monday approved a letter of intent with the New York-Penn League to relocate one of the short-season circuit's teams to town in time for Opening Day 2010. The letter of intent outlines a lease agreement, but actual terms would have to be negotiated between the city and team, The Day newspaper reported.
No word of which team is coming to Norwich, though NYPL commissioner Ben Hayes will be able to dictate who gets to negotiate with the city.
During the 2009 season, Vermont owner Ray Pecor Jr. expressed doubt over the team's future if Centennial Field were not renovated. The Burlington Press unearthed a 2007 report for Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig that detailed many of the ballparks problems, including a pitching mound that was not regulation sized and that two basepaths exceeded 90 feet.
Batavia was saved from bankruptcy by Triple-A Rochester during the 2008 offseason, and the Red Wings operated the club last season. The team finished second to last in attendance with a 963 average—ahead of only Oneonta (692). Former Oneonta owner Sam Nader sold the club in July 2008 to Miles Prentice. At the time, Nader said the sale would keep the team in town through at least 2010.
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