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Thursday, Aug 21st

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Augusta ballpark plan unveiled; Eiseman, Schoen to buy GreenJackets

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Proposed Augusta GreenJackets ballpark

A new plan for an Augusta GreenJackets (Low Class A; Sally League) ballpark was unveiled today, as was confirmation that Ripken Baseball VP Jeff Eiseman and investor Chris Schoen would be buying the team.

Agon Sports & Entertainment is technically the buyer of the team; Agon is made up of Eiseman and Schoen. Eiseman has been with Ripken Baseball since 2002 and served as the GM of the Aberdeen IronBirds (short season A; NY-Penn League) at the beginning of that stint. Schoen has been CEO of Hardball Capital, the Atlanta-based investment firm that owns the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Low Class A; Sally League) and the Savannah Sand Gnats (Low Class A; Sally League). Schoen was a major player in the financing of Parkview Field and the associated development. In addition, the pair plans on bringing 15 or so local investors to the ownership group. The sale price was not disclosed, but several owners have told us it was $7.5 million, as we reported last week.

For Ripken Baseball, it means stepping away from a team purchased in 2005 from Mike and Jeff Savit.

“We have built wonderful relationships in Augusta and want to see baseball succeed in the region,” said Cal Ripken Jr. said in a press release. “The way I see it, we aren’t leaving Augusta, simply changing roles. Multi-purpose development along the river has always been exciting to me and I look forward to the success of our new ownership group.”

The new ballpark, proposed as part of a larger development in North Augusta, is planned for the 2015 season. The development will include retail, housing and office space, with a ballpark as the centerpiece. The finances haven't been finalized, but North Augusta could end up paying 30 percent of the cost of the project, with the developer paying for the rest. A tentative price tag for the ballpark/sports complex, conference center and parking ramp is set at $43 million.

RELATED STORIES: Opposition already rising against North Augusta ballpark; North Augusta ballpark project to be unveiled this week; Ripken Baseball selling Augusta GreenJackets: owners; Downtown Augusta ballpark back up for discussion; Ripken Baseball: Damage control in Augusta; Challenge in Augusta: Paying for new ballpark; Eiseman: We're not tied to Augusta riverfront location; Augusta approves negotiations for new GreenJackets ballparkAugusta ballpark back in play?

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