Following the news that Ripken Baseball will sell the majority share of the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League), Harford County officials are stressing the need to keep the team.
As was covered here yesterday, Ripken Baseball is shopping its majority stake in the IronBirds. While the group–which includes Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and former major leaguer Billy Ripken–would retain a minority interest in the team, it says that the partial sale would allow it focus on its youth baseball initiatives.
The City of Aberdeen has expressed its desire to extend the IronBirds’ lease for Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. In doing so, the city would like to ensure that a new majority owner keeps the team in Aberdeen. Part of the motive in that case is that the city still owes more than $2.8 million on the ballpark, and is not scheduled to pay its share of the project off until 2022.
Though it is the city that owns Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, Harford County has its own interest in keeping the team. While it is not offering make a major financial contributions to IronBirds-related projects, county officials see the value in having the IronBirds within its boarders. That is according to comments spokesperson Cind Mumby made to the Baltimore Sun:
“Ripken Stadium and the IronBirds are a key attraction for Harford County tourism,” Mumby said Tuesday. “We [the county administration] want to work closely with Ripken Baseball to facilitate keeping the team in Aberdeen and Harford County.”
Mumby said the county doesn’t have a dollar figure for what the team means to the local economy, “but we really value them as a key component to attracting visitors to the city of Aberdeen and to Harford County.”
A sale does not appear to be imminent in this point. Aside from the IronBirds, Ripken Baseball’s presence in Aberdeen includes a youth baseball complex that is adjacent to Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
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