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Bryant: United League Baseball not dead

United League BaseballDespite some speculative reports, league owner John Bryant says the United League Baseball isn’t dead for 2015 — but admits the independent circuit faces challenges.

Indeed, these are challenges on the level of the Black Knight trying to survive in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: these are more than flesh wounds we’re discussing. The San Angelo Colts are in bankruptcy with no short-term solution in sight, the Fort Worth Cats have been booted from LaGrave Field (and more on that later in this article), and the Rio Grande Whitewings’ website is down after the domain name expired. Normally we’d put some emphasis on the team’s website being down, but it was a year ago that the same exact thing happened, so let the Internet conspiracy forces contemplate what it means. (Case in point: the Laredo Lemurs website has been down for the last week as well; don’t see many folks arguing the team is out of business.)

In this interview, Bryant acknowledged the challenges. But then again, the league has come back from some pretty bleak odds.

Speaking of LaGrave Field: the new owner of the facility is seeking to sell the ballpark to Fort Worth for $1.5 million more than he paid for it in 2012. Fort Worth officials say they don’t have $6 million to buy the ballpark and don’t want to be in the ballpark-management business. From the Fort Worth Business Press:

Tarrant Regional Water District, Trinity River Vision and Tarrant County. Leaders of those entities say they don’t have the money and there’s not enough public will to own the stadium. And looming large are the upcoming TRWD elections, where well-funded critics argue the board leadership is corrupt, secretive and not focused on providing critically needed water.

“I think politics has just got everybody in a holding pattern,” TRWD board member and North Sider Jim Lane, who has long supported a public-private partnership under which a public entity would buy or trade for LaGrave and lease it to an operator, said in an interview.

“It’s not that difficult to put together all the players” for a deal, Lane, one of two board members up for re-election this year, said. “That stadium should be in public hands, just to preserve it so it’s there forever.”

Public officials agree Schatte has waited patiently, but they say it’s possible that – with no deal – he may eventually choose to demolish the stadium and redevelop the site.

One possibility has been the independent Atlantic League fielding a team there, but with recent changes in that circuit, that doesn’t seem to be a likely outcome. League officials have worked to find a second Texas team to be a travel partner with the Sugar Land Skeeters.

RELATED STORIES: Colts bankruptcy opposed by court trustee; Mired in bankruptcy, Colts will end home season early; San Angelo woes mirror 2014 ULB season; San Angelo Colts file for bankruptcy protection against creditors

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