As expected, there were only two bids for the lease to Frederick’s Harry Grove Stadium, as the Frederick Keys (High Class A; Carolina League) and Frederick Atlantic LLC, working to bring in an independent Atlantic League team, were the only respondents to the city’s RFP, according to Frederick officials.
Frederick officials opened the bidding to the public after several short-term leases with the Keys and its parent comany, Maryland Baseball Holdings. The team and the city agreed on a $30,000 annual lease during the last set of negotiations — negotiations that frustrated city officials and led them to open the Harry Grove Stadium lease to bids.
Because of MiLB‘s territorial rules, it was automatic that there would only be one bid from an affiliated team. And given the geography involved, it was pretty automatic that there would only be one independent bid: Maryland is a little far afield from any legitimate independent league. Frederick Atlantic is led by attorney Jack Lavoie, but former Keys owner Peter Kirk — the man who actually built Harry Grove Stadium — is involved in the bid as well.
Next: the city will evaluate the two bids, a process that could take two or three weeks. After that, if city officials are enable to make a clear distinction between the bids, reps from both groups could be invited to make oral presentations. The RFP is pretty detailed, to the point of asking for specific concession items and an outline of what ballpark improvements would be undertaken as part of the new lease. Despite opening the lease to bids, the Keys will have an advantage, as the RFP gives extra points for an affiliated team making a bid. Still, it’s a guarantee that the Keys will be paying more for a new lease should they land the contract.
Despite protestations from the team, we do continue to hear from several MiLB the team was conditionally sold — or, at least, that’s what the broker handling the sale is telling other MiLB team owners. It’s no secret in baseball circles that a well-known Gaithersburg (Md.) sports-team broker was pitching the potential sale of both the Keys and the Bowie Baysox (Class AA; Eastern League), also owned by Maryland Baseball Holdings, for several months now. So, for the record, the Keys deny the team is for sale or has been conditionally sold. But we do stand by our story, based on what we’ve been directly told by several MiLB owners and other groups pitched on the sale.
RELATED STORIES: Frederick Keys sold; Keys: We want to stay in Frederick; Frederick: Affiliated team to have advantage in ballpark bidding; Frederick to put ballpark lease to bid; Keys on market; Ballpark Visit: Harry Grove Stadium / Frederick Keys
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