Christianson, a former board president who worked on failed new-ballpark plans, has offered to buy the team and keep it in Beloit. That there are issues with the Snappers finances and Pohlman Field is no secret: MiLB President/CEO Pat O’Conner bluntly warned earlier this year that the ballpark’s situation needs to be addressed. The team’s debt load is also reportedly a great cause of concern, preventing the team from adding new staff or launching new initiatives. Christianson issued a three-page memo to board members outlining what he thinks needs to be done and offering to buy the team, and team president Dennis Conerton says the topic will be addressed at the next board meeting. From the Beloit Daily News:
“There is a sensitivity in minor league baseball,” the team exec said. “They don’t like to hear about this in blog posts. They take team ownership very seriously. There is a lengthy, regulated process. There are background checks. There is a full disclosure of the financial deal. You have to show a plan for maintaining the stability of a franchise. The final approval is with the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. There are many hurdles you have to cross to become an owner and this isn’t even at the first hurdle.”
Contacted Tuesday, Christianson said he is eager to purchase the team, hurdles or not.
“If we could agree on a price, I’d be willing to buy it tomorrow,” he said. “I understand, however, that there is a process you have to go through and I’m more than willing to do that. I think it’s a positive sign that Dennis (Conerton) agreed to put this on the agenda for discussion at the (Snappers) board meeting next month. I would love to have the opportunity to speak that night to the board.”
Well, judging by what we’ve heard from MiLB folks this week, they really don’t give a crap that they read about this first in Ballpark Digest. That’s not close to being the issue: the issue is whether there’s a viable buyer for the team who can address the issues already outlined by Pat O’Conner in past sessions with team ownerhip and fans. The current board may not be in a position to tackle these issues because of its not-for-profit structure, but it’s becoming increasingly clear the status quo cannot hold at Pohlman Field.