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Quinn: Let’s bring short-season ball to Hagerstown

Hagerstown SunsHagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) owner Bruce Quinn wants to keep pro ball in the city in the form of a short-season team playing in a new ballpark.

Quinn met with Hagerstown officials and pitched the plan, where either his group or another group would own a short-season A team, presumably in the NY-Penn League, and play in a new East End ballpark, perhaps under the Suns name. The financial structure — a mixture of public-private investment similar to the deal he put together with Diamond Nation to build a new Fredericksburg ballpark — would work better somewhere in the city’s East End, rather than the downtown location now being debated. From the Herald-Mail:

“Our intention is to go to Fredericksburg with the (Class) A ball team that we have, but also our intention is to wait for the plans here that the city council is discussing,” Quinn said after a closed-door meeting with Hagerstown officials Friday afternoon at City Hall.

Quinn said the Suns’ name would not go to Fredericksburg, and he’s exploring ways to bring another “undetermined” professional baseball team to Hagerstown that could be operated by the Suns ownership and associated investors or another baseball ownership group — once the city decides on a location and master plan that includes a stadium project.

The notion isn’t bad: a Hagerstown team in the NY-Penn League would be roughly halfway between Aberdeen, home of the IronBirds, and Morgantown, which is expected to host NY-Penn League ball once a new WVU ballpark is completed. Hagerstown is also only 148 miles from State College, home of the Spikes.

Quinn said he expects the new team in Fredericksburg to be an instant success, projecting 3,000 fans a game alone from families participating in Diamond Nation events. That’s quite an assumption: five practice fields generating 3,000 paying customers to a Sally League game would be one of the great success stories in all of Minor League Baseball.

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