Major League Baseball has approved the sale of the Mobile BayBears (Class AA; Southern League), marking another toward a possible franchise relocation.
The Arizona-based BallCorps, LLC has been working to complete a purchase of the BayBears, with the intention of eventually relocating the team. Madison, AL has been reported as a potential landing spot, as discussions have taken place about the possibility of constructing a new ballpark there as part of the Town Madison development.
The latest step in BallCorps’ effort to purchase the team is a notable one, as MLB’s approval of the sale has been confirmed, though the sale is not expected to close until later this week. For now, the BayBears are the expected to remain at Mobile’s Hank Aaron Stadium for 2018. More from AL.com:
Ralph Nelson, CEO of BallCorps Inc., confirmed to AL.com that Major League Baseball has approved the sale of the BayBears. That is the final step in the sale approval process.
BallCorps is expected to close on the sale Friday, Nelson said.
The BayBears are expected to play the 2018 season in Mobile.
As we have noted previously, there are multiple steps in the process of purchasing and relocating a team. First, the sale is considered in a separate vote. That is followed by a separate request to move the franchise. (You cannot just request a move of the franchise; you need to have a destination and facility specified.)
The proposal for a ballpark in Madison took a step forward in September, when the planning commission approved zoning changes that would allow for a new ballpark to be constructed at the Town Madison development. The vote from the planning commission does not finalize that change, however, as WHNT notes that the Madison City Council still has to discuss and approve the plan in order for it to move forward:
Meanwhile, Madison City Council has to officially approve them to go into affect. The first public hearing on the topic will be Monday, November 13th to vote on the new zoning classification called “Urban Center District.” The second, on November 27th, will be for that new zoning to be applied to the Town Madison property.
Mobile officials, for their part, have previously indicated that they are not ready to give up on the BayBears. If the relocation to Madison does happen, the BayBears would become the Huntsville Metropolitan Area’s first professional baseball franchise since the Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League) played their last full season at Joe W. Davis Stadium in 2014.
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