After years of failed efforts at a new ballpark, Elmore Sports Group has sold the Bakersfield Blaze (High Class A; California League) to two local investors, whose next challenge will be funding a Sam Lynn Ballpark replacement.
Chad Hathaway and Gene Voiland are buying the team for an undisclosed price. The sale has been in the works for months and months — we’ve alluded to it several times — and hinged on a commitment from the buyers to privately finance a new ballpark. Though the Elmores have been floating around proposals for new ballparks for years (and debated whether to fund their own new, albeit modest facility), the conclusion was that new ownership with adequate capital would be best to keep the team in Bakersfield.
The pair made their fortunes in the oil- and gas-production worlds. Voiland will control 51 percent of the team; Hathaway will hold the rest. The deal has already been approved by the Cal League; it still requires MiLB and MLB approval.
Sam Lynn Ballpark, while one of the more interesting ballparks in the minors, does not meet MiLB standards. Some upgrades will be made for the upcoming season, but the focus will be on a new ballpark.
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