Rancho owner has a hand in Bakersfield’s future

By Lance Pugmire
September 30, 2001

Saying the sale of the California League’s Bakersfield Blaze on Wednesday was a deal that requires the four parties involved to carry out important tasks, a city leader predicted that the leadership of Rancho Cucamonga Quakes owner Hank Stickney will prove invaluable to the team’s success.

“If you had an opportunity to see his ballparks and entertainment in other cities, you’d be amazed,” said Alan Tandy, Bakersfield’s city manager.

In addition to owning the nine-time Cal League attendance champion Quakes, Stickney owns the Las Vegas Stars (Triple-A Pacific Coast League), Shreveport Swamp Dragons (Double-A Texas League) and the popular Dayton Dragons (Class A Midwest League).

While the $3.9-million purchase price was officially paid by the California League, Stickney, the president of Mandalay Sports Entertainment, will install a management team later this fall that will run the Blaze’s daily operations.

After being forced to sell the Mandalay-owned Lake Elsinore Storm of the Cal League, Stickney also will work to persuade Minor League Baseball members at the winter meetings to overturn a rule forbidding the ownership of two teams in one league. The city’s task is to secure enough land to build its City Center Project, which would be anchored by a new ballpark occupied by the Blaze in the 2003 season. The project’s developer also must secure his financing by a November deadline.

Cal League officials are expected to approve the deal at their Oct. 19 meeting.