Though uncertainty lingers over the management of non-baseball events at their home facility, the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) are affirming their commitment to the city.
The IronBirds and the City of Aberdeen have been unable to come to terms on a license agreement for management of non-IronBird events at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. The agreement that runs through December 31 calls for the Ripken-backed Tufton Baseball, LLC to manage non-IronBird events at the ballpark, while keeping revenues and paying the city an annual license fee. Discussions over renewing agreement have not been resolved, creating some uncertainty over how overseeing non-IronBird events are handled in 2018.
Furthermore, Aberdeen officials are moving forward with a plan to market Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium to potential buyers, citing the ballpark’s remaining debt service and maintenance costs as an issue. Though the club is still working to resolve the issue with the license agreement, it says that it is committed to remaining at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. More from The Aegis:
“Aberdeen is home and we have no intention of allowing short-sightedness push us to leave our hometown,” said John Maroon, a spokesperson for the group, headed by Cal Ripken Jr. and Bill Ripken, that owns the Aberdeen IronBirds Class A short season team that plays in the stadium.
The City of Aberdeen and the Ripken brothers, majority owners of Tufton Professional Baseball LLC, have been locked in discussions for more than a year over who will manage future non-baseball events at the stadium.
An impasse between the two sides has led the city’s mayor and a majority of the City Council to look elsewhere for a national events company to handle management and to begin shopping the city-owned stadium for a possible sale. Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady re-affirmed both intentions earlier this month.
The IronBirds have a lease through the end of 2022 and a renewal option that extends the lease an additional 20 years beyond that, Maroon said.
“The mayor can do what he sees fit with regard to an attempted sale of the ballpark. Our fans and the local community can rest-assured knowing though that, regardless of who owns the stadium, the IronBirds intend to remain in Harford County for the long-term,” Maroon said.
The IronBirds have called the ballpark home since it opened in 2002, when it was just known as Ripken Stadium.
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