Tacoma ball club owners halt sale of team | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tacoma ball club owners halt sale of team

The Associated Press

RENO (AP) – Officials with the Pacific Coast League say they still want to try to bring Triple-A professional baseball to Reno.

But it won’t be the Tacoma Rainiers.

Owners of the team Monday announced they have broken off talks with Maryland developer Mark Rivers, who was interested in buying the team and moving it to Reno.

League President Branch Rickey III said the league will explore other possibilities of establishing a franchise in Reno.

”It reflects another stage I think in our exploration and efforts to find a solution to how we’re going to bring Triple A baseball to Reno,” Rickey told the Reno Gazette-Journal. ”We still think it’s doable.”

Rickey said a franchise move to Reno could involve a team other than the Rainiers.

The Reno City Council is scheduled to meet Sept. 18 on whether to pursue the relocation of a Triple-A or Single-A baseball team and build a new ballpark.

Rickey said it’s too premature to say whether a group that would move a Triple-A team to Reno would have time to make a proposal to the council by Sept. 18.

Rickey said the time needed to find funding for a new stadium could work in the favor of a Triple-A group that he wouldn’t identify. Triple-A is the highest minor league level just below Major League Baseball.

Rickey visited Reno Thursday, as he tried to drum up support for Triple A baseball.

The Tacoma franchise has been on the market for a year and the teams ownership confirmed that an agreement to sell the team to Rivers had been nearing completion.

The Rainiers’ owners said both sides ”agreed to cease discussions for a number of reasons,” but for the Fosters it was due in large part to the Rivers’ group’s intent to move the team.

The Fosters became aware that Rivers planned to move the team from published reports about discussions with Reno and Honolulu.

”We said from the beginning that we are committed to keeping the Rainiers in Tacoma,” George Foster said in a written statement.

”It’s safe to say the Tacoma Rainiers were nearly purchased by a group who doesn’t share a similar commitment.

”While the door has not been definitively closed to the Rivers’ group or anyone else interested in the Rainiers, it is our desire to make yet another appeal to the people of Tacoma to put the future of the Rainiers into their own hands.”

Mark Kanai, the Fosters’ lawyer, said two Washington groups, including one in Tacoma and another in nearby Bellevue, have expressed interest in buying the team.

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