Ripken Baseball is reportedly looking to sell the majority stake in the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League), a move that would allow it to focus on other ventures.
Led by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and his brother Billy, Ripken Baseball has spent more than a decade involved in both the Minor League Baseball and youth baseball ranks. In recent years Ripken Baseball has sold both the Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) and Charlotte Stone Crabs (High A; Florida State League), cutting its number of professional teams from three to one.
Now the group is seeking a majority shareholder for the IronBirds. Ripken Baseball is doing so in order to divert more resources toward its youth baseball initiatives, including a large complex that is adjacent to the IronBirds’ Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
Thus far it does not appear that a sale is imminent, but City of Aberdeen officials are closely monitoring the situation. The city would like to extend the IronBirds’ lease and, under its repayment schedule, will not pay down the remaining $2.855 million in money borrowed for is share of the ballpark’s construction until 2022. More from the Baltimore Sun:
Councilman Tim Lindecamp urged his colleagues during Monday evening’s Aberdeen City Council meeting to work with Ripken Baseball officials to ensure the team remains in the city, noting the city appears to be in “right field” and the team owners in “left field.”
“I think we really need to understand what they’re trying to do and what we’re trying to do, so we can make this work together so it can benefit the city,” Lindecamp said.
“I really believe that stadium can help the city earn some money, if we work together.”
[Mayor Patrick] McGrady noted he met with Matt Slatus, the team’s new general manger, Monday.
“[Slatus] wants the Ripken Baseball entity to be successful with the city, so to the best of our ability we’re going to do that,” the mayor said.
The IronBirds have played at Ripken Stadium since 2002, their first season in Aberdeen after relocating from Utica, NY.