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So what about Huntsville/Biloxi? Latest: Stadium won't be ready until July or August

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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi city council OK's new stadium plans, says "Play Ball"
#41

Posted: September 12, 2013, 4:24 PM Post
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September 12th update:

They're campaigning, still not constructing, when it comes to potential Biloxi stadium
Mark McCarter, Huntsville Times

The movement continues to bring a Class AA baseball team to Biloxi, Miss., something perhaps impacting the Huntsville Stars' future, but it remains in the campaign rather than construction process.

The issue of a new stadium was addressed today in a private session of the Biloxi City Council, with the Biloxi Sun-Herald reporting that the council could vote before the end of the month to support a $21 million bond issue to help build the stadium.

The Huntsville Stars have been reported as one of the more likely teams to be purchased and moved to Biloxi, along with the Jackson, Tenn., franchise, though the summer has been swirling with a variety of rumors that could include a domino effect across the league.

The only certainty is that the Huntsville Stars will be doing business at Joe Davis Stadium in the 2014 season. Stars general manager Buck Rogers reiterated that point Thursday morning and Biloxi officials have acknowledged that 2015 would be the earliest a team could move there.

Stars majority owner Miles Prentice, visiting with family in New England Thursday, could not be reached for comment. In previous interviews, he invoked a "gag order" he said was issued by the Southern League office not to talk about on-going negotiations.

Sources say Prentice is asking upwards of $17 million for the franchise he bought from Huntsville investors in 2001 for a reported $6 million, saying that day, "I'm looking to keep the team in Huntsville forever."

Note: That's a telling statement from that source, isn't it, that a dollar figure has floated and linked? Especially when combined with the article in the next post. -- Jim (Mass Haas)

Continuation of McCarter article --

Ken Young, who owns four other minor league clubs and would own the Biloxi franchise, told the Biloxi Sun-Herald that it is essential that the city begin making progress toward finalizing plans and starting construction on the stadium. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant pledged $15 million toward construction from funds the state received from its settlement with BP after the Deepwater Horizon accident; that pledge has drawn criticism from those who believe the funds should be devoted to conservation.

Biloxi has plans for a $21 million bond issue to fund the remainder of the project, which will take place on land to be leased from the adjacent Beau Rivage Casino. However, the City Council has not provided backing for it.

Councilman George Lawrence wants to see the stadium built on public property while Councilman Robert Demming III raised the question of possible tax increases to help fund the park, something Young said was not the case in Albuquerque and Norfolk, other cities in which he owns teams.

Young's interview with the Sun-Herald was very much a plea to the community and leaders for support of the franchise, saying that baseball "adds life" to a city and "there's nothing better than minor league baseball to bring (quality of life) out. The team becomes part of the community."

Young stressed a sense of urgency, noting stadium construction would take more than a year and that the 2015 season opener is nearly 18 months away.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#42

Posted: September 12, 2013, 4:29 PM Post
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Ken Young says baseball stadium will help revitalize, 'add life' to Biloxi
by Mary Perez, Biloxi Sun-Herald

BILOXI -- The city council could vote by the end of the month whether to back a $21 million bond for a Minor League Baseball stadium in downtown Biloxi.

Ken Young, who owns four minor league baseball teams, met with the City Council Thursday about bringing his fifth team to Biloxi.

Young is in the process of buying a franchise, and can't yet identify the team. When they move to Biloxi, where they came from will be history and the team will have a new name, new stadium, new mascot and new fans.

The site in on U.S. 90, north of the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino on land used as a parking lot. David Staehling, retired director of administration for the city, said the combination of a free site provided by MGM Resorts International, parent company of the Beau Rivage, and a $15 million grant from the state make the project a winner.

"The financial leverage on this project is the best thing I've ever seen come to this city," he said. Councilman George Lawrence again said he wants to see the stadium moved to his ward off Fifth Street in East Biloxi. He also continues to maintain that the stadium should be built on city-owned land. "As a business person I look at risk," Young said, and there is always risk coming into a new community. He said the city also needs to look at the chance of success and the other things that will be good for the city by building the ballpark. "It's worth taking this risk," he said.

Councilman Robert Deming III asked Young if he knew whether taxes increased in any of the four cities where he has baseball teams to support the stadiums. "The fact is no, none of them had to raise taxes," said Young. He said the stadiums he built in Norfolk and Albuquerque continue to generate surpluses. "The stadium in Norfolk has been the catalyst for major development in the downtown," he said.

Young said it takes 16-18 months to get a stadium built and the start of the 2015 baseball stadium is 18 months away. "It's important for us to get moving on it," he said. He already can envision walking into the stadium opening night, feeling the fan reaction and feeling like a kid again.

What minor league baseball does for a community, he said, is add to the quality of life and unify a region. "There's nothing better than minor league baseball to bring that out," he said. "The team becomes part of the community."

The stadium also could help revitalize downtown Biloxi as ballparks have done recently in Pensacola, Fla. and other cities around the country. With 70 home games, a team brings people downtown and businesses follow. "It adds life," he said.

Young started working as a vendor in the stadium in Philadelphia, Pa. when he was still in high school. After graduating from Penn State University he went to work with Aramark in the recreational food division that serves stadiums and concerts venues. He started his own company, Ovations Food Services, and has 40 years in the food service business. He invested in his first minor league team 21 years ago in Norfolk, Va., and was named the 2009 Baseball America Minor League Executive of the Year.

Like a business, a baseball stadium needs the right ingredients, he said: "A good stadium, good entertainment-affected baseball and then operate it correctly and you can have a successful franchise - one that the community appreciates."

He's done that in Norfolk with the International League Tides, with the Eastern League Bowie Baysox, the Carolina League Frederick Keys and the Pacific Coast League Albuquerque Isotopes. The Biloxi team would play in the Southern League.

Tim Bennett with Overtime Sports has been working for years to bring baseball to Biloxi and approached Young before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Bennett was able to get a team in Pearl near Jackson and Young said he was interested in finding a team for Biloxi. The stadium will transform what is now a parking lot into a ballpark where three or four generations of family can share a game, a college baseball matchup, concert or other event, he said.

For the baseball purist it can be all about the game. For families, "It's everything going on around the baseball game," he said. They enjoy the music, the scoreboard and between inning contests. When they leave, Young said some of the fans don't know the final score but they know they had fun.His teams have a base run for kids at the end of the game. "Every night," he said. "Kids remember that. It's a Minor League stadium but it's a Major League field."

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD PHOTO Ken Young hopes a proposed location for a minor league stadium across from the Beau Rivage casino gets the necessary votes. Young thinks the location is excellent for a minor league baseball team.

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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#43

Posted: September 13, 2013, 10:45 PM Post
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It's really time to stop pretending that Huntsville is not the targeted Southern League relocation-to-Biloxi franchise.

Here's a video report following up yesterday's articles linked above.

Now we already knew this from that video report:

Young would not say which baseball franchise he'll buy and move to Biloxi, but WLOX News has been told it's an existing team in the AA Southern League.

The Jackson (TN) Generals play in the league's smallest market, and in prior years, had been the subject of their own departure rumors. But unlike the very absent and very silent Huntsville owner Miles Prentice, the Jackson situation has really solidified and stabilized with investment as this 2012 article indicates.

This actually isn't our first Brewerfan extensive thread on the Huntsville situation. Back in July 2009, Gord Ash's blunt comments kicked off this mega-thread with multiple updates, including perhaps this most telling post from 2010 (some bare-boned investments have been made since then).

***

So, and I type this with due respect to the hard-working staff that keep the franchise running on a shoestring budget and the dedicated among the team's Booster Club, but the issue isn't whether the Stars will be in Biloxi in 2015 (and yes, that situation could still yet fall apart - stay tuned), but whether the Brewers are positioned to be the beneficiaries of the new stadium in Biloxi.

In the fall of 2014, it will be time to renew or start fresh with Player Development Contracts (PDC's) across minor league baseball. Here is the current status of AA affiliations, and technically, all those in bold could potentially be interested in hooking up with a great new stadium situation on the Gulf Coast:

Eastern League (AA)
Akron Aeros - Cleveland (signed through 2014)
Altoona Curve - Pittsburgh (signed through 2018)
Binghamton Mets - New York (NL) (signed through 2016)
Bowie Baysox - Baltimore (signed through 2014)
Erie SeaWolves - Detroit (signed through 2014)
Harrisburg Senators - Washington (signed through 2014)
New Britain Rock Cats - Minnesota (signed through 2014)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats - Toronto (signed through 2014)
Portland Sea Dogs - Boston (signed through 2018)
Reading Fightin Phils - Philadelphia (signed through 2014; owned by Philadelphia)
Richmond Flying Squirrels - San Francisco (signed through 2014)
Trenton Thunder - New York (AL) (signed through 2022)

Southern League (AA)
Birmingham Barons - Chicago (AL) (signed through 2014)
Chattanooga Lookouts - Los Angeles (signed through 2014)
Huntsville Stars - Milwaukee (signed through 2014)
Jackson Generals - Seattle (signed through 2014)
Jacksonville Suns - Miami (signed through 2014)
Mississippi Braves - Atlanta (owned by Atlanta)
Mobile BayBears - Arizona (signed through 2014)
Montgomery Biscuits - Tampa Bay (signed through 2014)
Pensacola Blue Wahoos - Cincinnati (signed through 2016)
Tennessee Smokies - Chicago (NL) (signed through 2014)

Texas League (AA)
Arkansas Travelers - Anaheim (signed through 2014)
Corpus Christi Hooks - Houston (owned by Houston; signed through 2016)
Frisco RoughRiders - Texas (signed through 2018; owned by Texas)
Midland RockHounds - Oakland (signed through 2014)
Northwest Arkansas Naturals - Kansas City (signed through 2016)
San Antonio Missions - San Diego (signed through 2014)
Springfield Cardinals - St. Louis (owned by St. Louis)
Tulsa Drillers - Colorado (signed through 2014)

Not sure how many truly unsatisfactory ballpark situations exist beyond Huntsville at the AA level. So even if the Brewers don't end up in a spanking new Biloxi stadium, the situation could only improve regardless. While Huntsville's on-site day-to-day management team raves about their relationship with the Brewers' staff, both field and operational, new ownership in Biloxi would have no past relationship with Milwaukee staff, no loyalty.

And given eight sub-.500 seasons in the last ten, including the most recent five seasons, new ownership could easily seek a more "sexy" and successful partnership.

Baseball Reference - Huntsville Stars All-Time W-L Team Records

So Brewers fans just need to watch the Biloxi city council vote later this month, we'll keep you posted.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#44

Posted: September 14, 2013, 12:04 PM Post
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Don't know if Ken Young would even be interested, but I wonder if members of the Brewers' ownership group would be willing to invest in the new Biloxi franchise in order to help the Brewers stay there in 2015, and well beyond. The Biloxi Brewers... very alliterative.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#45

Posted: September 16, 2013, 1:28 PM Post
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Other than having a nice stadium for their players to play in how would the Brewers benefit from this? Do they get a cut of he revenue from minor league teams?


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#46

Posted: September 16, 2013, 3:41 PM Post
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jerichoholicninja said:
Other than having a nice stadium for their players to play in how would the Brewers benefit from this? Do they get a cut of he revenue from minor league teams?


I would love it if the Brewers would buy their minor league affiliates like the Braves have, then yes revenue would matter to them, in this case we're talking mostly about getting modern training and practices facilities such as a weight room, nice indoor batting cage, and so on. From my perspective it's about creating the best possible environment to develop your players in. I realize I'll have much higher expectations given my perspective coming from a football background and being intimately familiar with the facilities of the Packers and Badgers, but I also don't expect minor league teams to have 3-5 different kinds of rehab pools and such either. I do expect modern rehab equipment like magnetic/ultrasound machines and a rehab pool, and if the franchises can't afford to do those types of things then the organization should just do it for player development. They'd be much better off wasting a couple hundred K when switching an affiliate than overpaying some veteran MLB has been on a yearly basis.

I would argue that having a poor facility in a place like Helena for short season ball doesn't matter anywhere near as much as it does in AAA and AA. Our players go from top notch facilities in WI, to similar facilities (but no fans) in FL, to garbage in AL and TN. I'm sure the players care about the other amenities like a player lounge, nice lockers, TVs in the club house, a dining area, and so on... I primarily care about the medical equipment and potential athletic advancement available in a new facility.

If you want to keep players healthy and care about athletic development then you need modern facilities. The Brewers are slowly coming around on both accounts.

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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#47

Posted: September 16, 2013, 3:43 PM Post
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jerichoholicninja said:
Other than having a nice stadium for their players to play in how would the Brewers benefit from this? Do they get a cut of he revenue from minor league teams?


That's a fair question.

It's purely a matter of player aesthetics, both physical and mental. Top-notch training facilities, cages, weight rooms, etc., plus playing for a full or nearly-full packed house night after night.

Having brand new facilities the last five years in Nashville or Huntsville would not have made much difference in the Brewers' system ranking with Baseball America and others, probably around that 25-28 range. You still have to have the talent.

But for all those other reasons, yes, there's an intrinsic benefit to player development.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#48

Posted: September 23, 2013, 11:36 AM Post
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Pending a planned upcoming council vote, if funding does go through in Biloxi, look for former NBA star Tracy McGrady to be part of the new ownership team, and as we've surmised, it's likely but not a slam dunk that Huntsville is the club up for eventual sale / relocation. (See how I worked in the basketball term?)

Still no date set on the city financing vote.

McGrady story


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#49

Posted: September 23, 2013, 11:50 AM Post
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Too little, too late?

Huntsville Times poll


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#50

Posted: October 03, 2013, 9:50 AM Post
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Tuesday morning, October 8th is the Biloxi City Council vote. If it passes, it should not be long before we learn which Southern League team (most signs point to the Huntsville Stars) will be the 2015 tenant.

As we've detailed quite a bit throughout this thread, the Brewers association with the Huntsville franchise would need to be renewed beyond the 2014 season, so even if stadium construction is officially authorized, it's not a guarantee Brewers farmhands would be hosting games there.

Biloxi baseball is a vote away - Special meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi obtains stadium funds; purchase and subsequent move of Stars quite possible
#51

Posted: October 08, 2013, 7:16 AM Post
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Looks like lively discussion will accompany the Biloxi vote this AM.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi City Council Officially OK's New Ballpark Plan
#52

Posted: October 08, 2013, 12:27 PM Post
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Biloxi City Council says 'Play ball'

By a 5-2 vote, it's a "GO!" in Biloxi. New stadium in 2015.

No word yet on when the new ownership group will announce which existing Southern League franchise is expected to be sold to them. If you read through this thread, many indications point strongly to that being the Huntsville Stars, but it's important to note it still could be another team, perhaps the Jackson (TN) Generals.

And as we've indicated before, if the Huntsville franchise does get sold and relocates, the Brewers' affiliation with the Stars currently only extends through 2014. The new ownership group could choose to test free agent waters, so to speak, to lure a different major league franchise affiliation beginning in 2015.

The best situation for the Brewers and their farmhands would be to be playing in a spanking new facility in front of an enthused base beginning in April 2015 via a renewed affiliation agreement through at least 2016 (player development contracts are renewed in either two- or four-year intervals. We'll see...


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi City Council Officially OK's New Ballpark Plan
#53

Posted: October 08, 2013, 2:13 PM Post
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Photos at link --

Huntsville, Mobile minor league baseball teams possible targets to relocate to Biloxi after stadium deal approved
by Paul Gattis, al.com

With a vote of the Biloxi city council this morning approving $21 million bond issue to build a minor league baseball stadium, did the Huntsville Stars just take their first step out of the Rocket City?

Or could it possibly be the Mobile BayBears that will be relocating to Biloxi or the Jackson, Tenn., Generals?

The intrigue in the Southern League just got ramped up when Biloxi approved a stadium deal. The total package is $36 million for the project, including $15 million from the BP settlement pledged by Gov. Phil Bryant.

The Stars and the Generals have reportedly been mentioned as the most likely targets of the Biloxi ownership group. There is also a growing sentiment that the BayBears could be vulnerable to a sale and move down Interstate 10 to Biloxi, though team officials have repeatedly said the team is secure.

Biloxi officials have not identified the Southern League team it will bring to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Tim Bennett, who is part of the ownership group to bring a team to Biloxi, told GulfLive.com that luring a Southern League team to town "is a done deal."

Huntsville (1,877 per game), Jackson (1,954) and Mobile (2,339) were the worst in average attendance in the 10-team Southern League in 2013.

In Joe Davis Stadium, the Huntsville Stars play in the league's oldest stadium.

The Biloxi city council voted 5-2 to approve the $21 million bond issue, which will help finance construction of the stadium at the interchange of U.S. 90 and I-110. The stadium will be built on land being leased to the city by the Beau Rivage casino for $1 a year.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi City Council Officially OK's New Ballpark Plan
#54

Posted: October 09, 2013, 12:46 PM Post
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Biloxi stadium next step: Acquiring loan, league approval

“A couple of other things have to happen before we can move forward, and those things will happen before we actually borrow the money,” David Nichols, Biloxi’s chief administrative officer, said in the release. “First, the team must be purchased, and Minor League Baseball must approve of everything. We expect to see those things happen very shortly.”


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi City Council Officially OK's New Ballpark Plan
#55

Posted: October 21, 2013, 4:32 PM Post
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Mass Haas said:
Photos at link --

Huntsville, Mobile minor league baseball teams possible targets to relocate to Biloxi after stadium deal approved
by Paul Gattis, al.com

With a vote of the Biloxi city council this morning approving $21 million bond issue to build a minor league baseball stadium, did the Huntsville Stars just take their first step out of the Rocket City?

Or could it possibly be the Mobile BayBears that will be relocating to Biloxi or the Jackson, Tenn., Generals?

The Stars and the Generals have reportedly been mentioned as the most likely targets of the Biloxi ownership group. There is also a growing sentiment that the BayBears could be vulnerable to a sale and move down Interstate 10 to Biloxi, though team officials have repeatedly said the team is secure.

Biloxi officials have not identified the Southern League team it will bring to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Tim Bennett, who is part of the ownership group to bring a team to Biloxi, told GulfLive.com that luring a Southern League team to town "is a done deal."

Huntsville (1,877 per game), Jackson (1,954) and Mobile (2,339) were the worst in average attendance in the 10-team Southern League in 2013.

In Joe Davis Stadium, the Huntsville Stars play in the league's oldest stadium.


Mobile was awarded the 2015 Southern League All-Star Game today. Their inclusion in this conversation was very peripheral at best. With this announcement, Mobile is staying put.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi City Council Officially OK's New Ballpark Plan
#56

Posted: October 21, 2013, 9:34 PM Post
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Mass Haas said:
Mass Haas said:
Photos at link --

Huntsville, Mobile minor league baseball teams possible targets to relocate to Biloxi after stadium deal approved
by Paul Gattis, al.com

With a vote of the Biloxi city council this morning approving $21 million bond issue to build a minor league baseball stadium, did the Huntsville Stars just take their first step out of the Rocket City?

Or could it possibly be the Mobile BayBears that will be relocating to Biloxi or the Jackson, Tenn., Generals?

The Stars and the Generals have reportedly been mentioned as the most likely targets of the Biloxi ownership group. There is also a growing sentiment that the BayBears could be vulnerable to a sale and move down Interstate 10 to Biloxi, though team officials have repeatedly said the team is secure.

Biloxi officials have not identified the Southern League team it will bring to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Tim Bennett, who is part of the ownership group to bring a team to Biloxi, told GulfLive.com that luring a Southern League team to town "is a done deal."

Huntsville (1,877 per game), Jackson (1,954) and Mobile (2,339) were the worst in average attendance in the 10-team Southern League in 2013.

In Joe Davis Stadium, the Huntsville Stars play in the league's oldest stadium.

Mobile was awarded the 2015 Southern League All-Star Game today. Their inclusion in this conversation was very peripheral at best. With this announcement, Mobile is staying put.

So is that... that? Aside from contract-related items, what keeps Huntsville from moving to Biloxi at this point?

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Rock: Yep, on a bounce, & uh, gets 'im. That shouldn't happen on 4th of July, should it?
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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi City Council Officially OK's New Ballpark Plan
#57

Posted: October 22, 2013, 5:50 AM Post
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TooLiveBrew said:
So is that... that? Aside from contract-related items, what keeps Huntsville from moving to Biloxi at this point?


At some point (don't know when), the sale of an existing Southern League franchise to the new Biloxi ownership team will be announced formally. When that sale is announced, it will include the news that the sold club will play in Biloxi in 2015.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi City Council Officially OK's New Ballpark Plan
#58

Posted: October 25, 2013, 7:15 PM Post
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I was curious if the Stars move to Biloxi would the Brewers entend their deal or could the new team refuse to sign a new deal with the Brewers.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi City Council Officially OK's New Ballpark Plan
#59

Posted: October 26, 2013, 3:03 AM Post
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brewmann04 said:
I was curious if the Stars move to Biloxi would the Brewers entend their deal or could the new team refuse to sign a new deal with the Brewers.


From earlier in this thread, it's been stated a few ways, but --

And as we've indicated before, if the Huntsville franchise does get sold and relocates, the Brewers' affiliation with the Stars currently only extends through 2014. The new ownership group could choose to test free agent waters, so to speak, to lure a different major league franchise affiliation beginning in 2015.


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Offline  Re: So what about Huntsville? Latest: Biloxi City Council Officially OK's New Ballpark Plan
#60

Posted: October 27, 2013, 2:17 PM Post
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thnak you for the help


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