Former Burlington Royals GM Ryan Keur has acquired Burlington Baseball Inc. from long-time owner Miles Wolff at a time when the future of the Rookie-Level Appalachian League team is in question.
Keur will be the Owner and Operator of Burlington Baseball Inc. which oversees the day-to-day operation of the Burlington Royals. (Like every other Appy League team, the B-Royals are owned by a parent team and operated locally.) Keur is no stranger to the Burlington Royals, as he worked in Burlington from 2011-2016 and was awarded the Appalachian League Executive of the Year during the 2014, 2015 and 2016 campaigns.
“I cannot thank Miles [Wolff] and Appalachian League President, Dan Moushon enough for their support in this venture and the opportunity that presents itself. We are fully committed to providing a first-class experience to all fans visiting Burlington Athletic Stadium, being strong community stewards and constantly looking at ways to re-energize and reunite with our fanbase and corporate partners. We have great partners with the City of Burlington and the Kansas City Royals who want to see baseball be successful in Burlington.”
Within the change of ownership, the club has announced several key front-office hirings. Anderson Rathbun, has been appointed as the General Manager of the Burlington Royals. Rathbun will oversee the day-to-day business affairs and overall mission of the Royals. Thomas Vickers has been named the Assistant General Manager, overseeing all internal stadium operations and events.
Keur stated today on the hiring of Rathbun, and Vickers; “I could not be more excited to introduce Anderson [Rathbun] and Thomas [Vickers] to the Burlington community. Burlington is going to be getting two of the most energetic, creative and passionate individuals in the industry. They are both incredible talents that are going to push Burlington baseball to new heights.” Both Vickers and Rathbun will be relocating from their current positions with the Daytona Tortugas. Keur will remain as the Team President of the Daytona Tortugas.
Rathbun has quickly progressed through the ranks of minor league baseball since interning with the Burlington Royals in 2015. He spent the following season with the Toledo Mud Hens (Class AAA; International League) and has been with the Daytona Tortugas (High A; Florida State League) for the past three and a half seasons. Rathbun went onto state that he is “incredibly excited to return to Burlington in this new capacity and build on an astonishing history of baseball. This is a baseball town and our team is ready to take this summer tradition to new levels for our fans and for our partners.” Rathbun had been the Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Daytona Tortugas and has led the team to record highs in partnership revenues over the past several seasons.
Vickers has spent the past seven years working in various roles throughout the baseball industry. Vickers began his baseball career in 2014 with the Huntsville Stars. Over the past five seasons, he has spent time as the Operations Assistant for the Philadelphia Phillies, Director of Baseball Operations for Stetson University and most recently the Director of Stadium Operations and Events for the Daytona Tortugas. His wide-array of talents and commitment to community make him an ideal fit for the role with the Burlington Royals. Vickers went onto state that he “couldn’t be more excited and thankful to Ryan [Keur] and the City of Burlington for this opportunity. We have a great plan and vision for what we want to accomplish here at the stadium and in the community. I’m ready to get to work!” Vickers, a native of New Hampshire, is married to Kristen Vickers and will be relocating to Burlington, N.C.
Eliminating the Appalachian League has been discussed in the larger picture when it comes to MiLB contraction, but it occupies a unique spot in the MiLB hierarchy: every team is owned by an MLB team, which gives MLB total control over the future of the circuit. Given that there are other options for a Burlington team–a new summer-collegiate circuit made up of former Appy League teams or joining the existing Coastal Plain League–it’s hard to imagine no baseball at Burlington Athletic Stadium no matter what happens with contraction.
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