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Frederick, Keys squabble over rent

The city wants $30,000 for a one-year lease of Harry Grove Stadium, while the Frederick Keys say they’ll pay $17,000. Meanwhile, neither side is talking long-term lease, as the city looks at how much the ballpark would cost without professional baseball.The city of Frederick and the management of the Frederick Keys (High Class A; Carolina League) are at odds over a lease for Harry Grove Stadium, as the two sides are fighting over the pricing of a 2009 lease and not bothering to discuss any long-term agreements,

In fact, it’s to the point where the city is looking how much the ballpark maintenance would be if the Keys moved out of town. (The answer: between $75,000 and $100,000.) The Keys have maintained the ballpark as part of their lease agreement, so the city would need to pick up that cost if the franchise moved.

Of course, we’re not suggesting the team is moving anytime soon. But the talk between the two sides is remarkably aggressive, and city officials say that if the Keys move there are plenty of teams ready to move in, though we think it’s a huge stretch to say a Class AA team is a potential lessor at Harry Grove Stadium. The city has made $2 million in ballpark improvements in recent years. In any case, the team is due back to the city this week for a counteroffer, and we suspect it will be closer to the team’s original offer of $17,000 than the city’s desire of $30,000. 

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