A Davidson County Chancery Court judge has ordered the Jackson Generals (Class AA; Southern League) to pay Jackson (TN) almost $250,000 to cover arbitration costs in an unsuccessful attempt to retain The Ballpark at Jackson lease.
You probably know the backstory. The Generals were not one of the teams making the cut to 120 teams following MLB’s takeover of Minor League Baseball. The city then asked Jackson Baseball Club LLC d/b/a The Jackson Generals, primarily owned by David Freeman, to vacate the ballpark and came to a separate agreement to host Winnipeg Goldeyes (American Association) games when COVID-19 travel restrictions forced the team to play in the United States. Because an affiliated team was specified in the lease, the city declared the Generals in default and moved to have the Generals turn over the ballpark to the city while advertising for new tenants in an RFP process.
Freeman refused to vacate the ballpark and sought to resolve the issue via mediation. After two days over one basic issue–whether the lease required a tenant to sport an MiLB affiliation–the Arbitrator entertained five witnesses snd ruled that the affiliation clause “is singularly woven into the contract” and that the Generals breached that requirement, according to a city press release. The city then moved to have all arbitration costs covered by the Generals, per the Jackson Sun.v
Since the arbitration decision Big Inning, LLC–owned by league commissioner Dennis Bastien and wife Lisa Bastien–signed an eight-year lease to occupy the former home of the Generals, with events later this year and league play in 2023.
RELATED STORIES: Prospect League group lands Jackson ballpark lease; Police to oversee remaining Generals tenure in Jackson ballpark; City takes control of The Ballpark at Jackson after arbitration win; Goldeyes to play in Jackson following agreement with city; Generals announce new league, other ballpark plans–but city has not signed off; Goldeyes to begin 2021 season in Jackson