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So what about Huntsville/Biloxi? Latest: Rain isn't helping


Mass Haas

Huntsville Stars, Milwaukee Brewers future still up in the air

By Mark McCarter, The Huntsville Times

 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The Milwaukee Brewers and Class AAA affiliate Nashville are going to continue their working agreement in a what Brewers' general manager Doug Melvin called a "facility and conditions (that) are not totally satisfactory."

 

It's still unknown whether the Brewers will choose to do the same in Huntsville, where the Brewers have been equally descriptive of Joe Davis Stadium and community support.

 

The Brewers and team owner Miles Prentice have held negotiations, but Stars general manager Buck Rogers said Tuesday that no announcement is forthcoming over the club's future with Milwaukee, with whom Huntsville has been affiliated since 1999.

 

Huntsville has not reached the postseason since 2009 and was again last in the 10-team league in attendance.

 

If the Stars do not re-sign with Milwaukee, there are only four other possibilities. The Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners are the only major league teams that have not announced renewals with Class AA affiliates; however, the Indians are expected to re-up at Akron, currently in the Eastern League championship series.

 

The Angels are now with Arkansas of the Texas League. Miami is affiliated with Jacksonville and the Mariners with Jackson, Tenn., both in the Southern League.

 

Tuesday was the deadline for teams to file paperwork with Minor League Baseball about their intentions. On Saturday, the commissioner's office will announce major league clubs and minor league cities that are "free agents," and a two-week period begins in which those entities can negotiate with each other.

 

The Brewers have been dissatisfied with Joe Davis Stadium, the oldest park in the Southern League, and with city support. Mayor Tommy Battle has been on record desiring "a public-private partnership" with Prentice and his co-owners to move forward with any potential new downtown ballpark or extensive renovations to Joe Davis Stadium.

 

Nashville has had plans for a new stadium for years, though nothing has come to fruition. The Sounds play in Greer Stadium, which opened in 1978. However, Melvin noted his great confidence in the team ownership.

 

"I totally believe in this ownership, and if we can get the same support from the city, Nashville will be one of the most desirable franchises in Minor League baseball," Melvin said in his statement.

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I've seen a report that Miami and Jacksonville have re-upped. Hard to believe that Akron and Cleveland won't do the same. Just my opinion, but I think Arkansas is holding all the cards - they should be able to get the best offer from the Angels/Mariners/Brewers, the two left over will make a run at Jackson and Huntsville will get the last one standing.
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Huntsville Media Relations:

 

Brewers, Stars Extend Player Development Contract

Stars to Remain Brewers Double-A Affiliate Through 2014 Season

 

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Milwaukee Brewers and Huntsville Stars have extended their player development contract for two more seasons, through the end of the 2014 season. The announcement was made today by Brewers President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin and Stars General Manager Buck Rogers.

 

“We have agreed to extend our working agreement with the Stars,” said Melvin. “The current facility and conditions provide a number of challenges on the player development front and we support Miles Prentice and his ownership group in their continued efforts to get a much needed new park. The Southern League continues to provide a competitive environment for our players at the Double-A level and we look towards continuing our long-time affiliation with the Huntsville Stars.”

 

The Stars have served as the Brewers Double-A affiliate since the start of the 1999 season. During those 14 seasons, Huntsville has been home to two Southern League Most Valuable Players (Corey Hart, 2003, and Hunter Morris, 2012), won four division championships (2001, 2003, 2006 and 2007) and was named Southern League Co-Champions in 2001. The Stars hold a 945-996 record during that time span.

 

“We are extremely proud to continue our relationship with the Brewers for another two years,” said Rogers. “Many of the players that the Brewers have assigned to Huntsville have gone on to become Major League stars. The coaches and players that were a part of our 2012 season were heavily involved with the community. The Brewers are a classy organization and we are honored to have them back in Huntsville.”

 

This past season, the Stars were managed by Darnell Coles and saw six players spend time in Huntsville and end the season in Milwaukee. There are currently 19 players on the Brewers active roster that are former Stars.

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Huntsville Stars' agreement with Milwaukee is positive move for franchise that still has its negatives

By Mark McCarter, The Huntsville Times

 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama --Sure enough, Doug Melvin was dead-on. We were standing on the concourse at Joe Davis Stadium on one of those friends-and-family, sparsely populated nights at a Huntsville Stars game when I asked his thoughts about the ballpark.

 

Said Melvin, the vice president and general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, "Take last year's story and reprint it."

 

There is much that seems very familiar, very reprintable.

 

First, to report that the Stars and Brewers, as expected, renewed their player-development contract for two more seasons. Sources say Milwaukee pondered moving to Little Rock, Ark., leaving Huntsville to shop for another partner - something else that is deja vu from our 2010 off-season coverage.

 

I could almost reprint a Melvin quotation from a press release announcing the renewal at Class AAA Nashville, which has a 34-year-old park.

 

For Nashville: "While the current facility and conditions are not totally satisfactory, we remain loyal and are very supportive of the ownership and Frank Ward in his continued efforts to get a much-needed new park."

 

For Huntsville: "The current facility and conditions provide a number of challenges on the player development front and we support Miles Prentice and his ownership group in their continued efforts to get a much needed new park."

 

What isn't the same story to reprint is that this is a nice, positive move for the Huntsville franchise.

 

It continues a productive relationship. It doesn't guarantee baseball's future here - that's up to Prentice, not the Brewers - but I can't imagine anything drastic happening before this agreement ends.

 

There has been no louder, more persistent public critic of the Stars' operation the past decade than I.

 

There remains much to criticize. But not this decision.

 

This past summer, if you were among those who avoided the ballpark, you missed the Stars even more than they missed you. (The Stars, for the record, drew 34,000 more in 2012 than in 2011, but still were last in the league in attendance.)

 

It was hardly a great team. But it was usually entertaining to watch. The players engaged fans. They made countless public appearances, leaving general manager Buck Rogers to call them "the best team I've ever been around when it comes to community outreach."

 

Manager Darnell Coles was a shining example for public relations. So was the best player, Hunter Morris. The Huntsville native and league MVP shoulda/coulda pleaded "no" to some requests, but never did.

 

Yes, it's been a while since the Stars have played in postseason (2009) or even had a winning record. Alas, winning goes in cycles in minor league ball.

 

The Brewers have provided Huntsville with some talent. Prince Fielder. Ryan Braun. J.J. Hardy. Corey Hart. Ben Sheets. Rickie Weeks. Nelson Cruz. Yovani Gallardo. Tony Gwynn Jr.

 

Nineteen of Milwaukee's roster are ex-Stars and six were in Huntsville this summer. Yet the Brewers didn't disrupt a good thing, letting Morris and Scooter Gennett complete a full season here.

 

Now, where Doug Melvin wasn't dead-on was "continued efforts" by Prentice for a stadium.

 

A new stadium isn't feasible or advisable right now. Mayor Tommy Battle supports a downtown ballpark that is a public-private partnership, where team ownership has "some skin in the game." Hizzoner shares the belief that local ownership would best serve baseball's future here.

 

If Prentice has truly sold Melvin that he is involved in a "continuing effort," Melvin better check his pocket for his wallet.

 

This ownership group has extended little effort to make a new stadium happen, or to make the franchise the success this city deserves.

 

That sentiment, sadly, has often been reprinted.

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  • 2 months later...

Similar to Nashville, the ballpark situation in Huntsville is a point of frustration for the Brewers -- Doug Melvin's quote via Adam McCalvy:

 

"The problem (Nashville) is, there's nothing ever open. Everybody gets locked in," Melvin said. "It's the same at [Double-A] Huntsville."

 

Our friend Mark McCarter of the Huntsville Times sat down with Stars' owner Miles Prentice, here's their Q&A documented -- as insightful as it is, it doesn't seem very hopeful, does it?

 

The new Pensacola ballpark (the Reds moved there from Carolina) would have been sweet.

 

For history buffs, here's a separate link to the mega-thread on the Huntsville ownership and ballpark situation that began with Gord Ash's blunt comments back in July 2009.

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  • 4 months later...

New ballpark for Huntsville unlikely

Mike Brown, 48 News (Huntsville)

 

Wednesday night, the Birmingham Barons will christen their new ballpark - a 64 million dollar facility that holds 8,500 fans. It features a fantastic view of the Birmingham skyline, and top of the line amenities around the concourse.

 

A short trip on I-65 north, to 565 east and down Memorial Parkway, you'll find the Huntsville Stars - also holding their home opener Wednesday evening. But instead of a shiny new ballpark, they're beginning their 28th season at Joe Davis Municipal Stadium.

 

One ballpark blogger who's made a second career of touring and critiquing facilities calls it : "one of those oddball baseball parks built in the 1980's before the new wave of minor league stadiums. So what Huntsville is left with is a large, concrete, sterile stadium (not ballpark)."

 

In fact, the "new wave" of stadiums is in its second generation for some places. But the Joe essentially remains the same as it did when it opened in 1985.

 

The stadium sits in councilman Bill Kling's district. Where critics see an outdated relic, Kling sees something else : "I like our stadium." Kling told WAFF 48 News on Wednesday. "We had three American League Rookie of the Years come through there. A lot of history there. In many ways we're like the Wrigley Field of the Southern League."

 

Kling says the city spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on Joe Davis. This year alone, he cites several key improvements. "Lighting's being upgraded, there's some additions being done to the field, the locker rooms for both teams are going to be upgraded." Kling also says the current location of the stadium is a huge selling point. "It's located off the Parkway, so it's easy to get in and get out, we don't have a lot of congestion."

 

Kling dismisses the idea of a new stadium, at least one funded by city dollars. He also had some choice words for his counterparts in Jefferson County. "I suppose if some large company wanted to come out and build the stadium so it could be named after them, something could be worked out." Kling said. "But, Birmingham - they're being excessive, spending millions of dollars they really don't have."

 

It remains to be seen who'll have the last laugh though. Regions Field is expected to sell out multiple games this week. Joe Davis? Unlikely.

 

***

 

Local reader comments can be found at the bottom of the linked page kicking off this post.

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The stadium sits in councilman Bill Kling's district. Where critics see an outdated relic, Kling sees something else : "I like our stadium." Kling told WAFF 48 News on Wednesday. "We had three American League Rookie of the Years come through there. A lot of history there. In many ways we're like the Wrigley Field of the Southern League."

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The stadium sits in councilman Bill Kling's district. Where critics see an outdated relic, Kling sees something else : "I like our stadium." Kling told WAFF 48 News on Wednesday. "We had three American League Rookie of the Years come through there. A lot of history there. In many ways we're like the Wrigley Field of the Southern League."

http://i.imgur.com/r5N5m7a.gif

 

Very good! Obviously the only thing Mr. Kling knows about Wrigley is that it is old. The Joe has no personality at all and (unless they have fixed/upgraded since last season) a high school scoreboard. 3 AL ROY? Has he even been to the stadium since the A's left? Has he heard of Braun? And none of them were there because Joe Davis Stadium drew them there ... The Joe is more like the Oakland Coliseum (Mauseleum?) than Wrigley. We still will go when we can just to see some good baseball but would rather go catch the Stars when they are in B'ham, Chattanooga, Montgomery or Mississippi.

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Similar to Nashville, the ballpark situation in Huntsville is a point of frustration for the Brewers -- Doug Melvin's quote via Adam McCalvy:

 

"The problem (Nashville) is, there's nothing ever open. Everybody gets locked in," Melvin said. "It's the same at [Double-A] Huntsville."

 

That may all change soon if the Astros get their way and move Oklahoma City to the Houston burbs as they're talking about. Nashville goes to OKC and gets a 'new' ballpark and Greer gets bulldozed. Bricktown is very nice....I dread using the bathrooms at Greer in the summer.

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Or, as speculated here, the AAA New Orleans club is the one to move, which frees up New Orleans as a potential site for a AA Southern League club.

 

***

 

Huntsville to New Orleans? You get the sense, one way or another, one of the two clubs (Nashville / Huntsville, but particularly Huntsville given the ownership), would be receptive to that type of move.

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  • 1 month later...

Another Southern city expresses a serious interest in a new ballpark. Pensacola sure was successful in their efforts. Have to wonder if Stars owner Miles Prentice is keeping an eye on this. Much respect for our Huntsville friends who work so hard with what they have, but how long can Joe Davis Stadium hang on? Of course, this doesn't mean the Stars will be Biloxi-bound, and even if they were, would they still be a Brewers affiliate if so?

 

***

 

Biloxi intends to borrow $21 million for new baseball stadium

By April M. Havens, GulfLive.com

 

BILOXI, Mississippi -- The Biloxi City Council voted 5-2 today to announce its intent to borrow $21 million to be used toward building a baseball stadium.

 

"We haven't spent a dime with what we voted for today," Councilman Clark Griffith said. "There's a process that you have to go through, and you have to first show the intent to borrow the money."

 

Griffith said the resolution was passed to set an obtainable timeline in motion.

 

"We need to build it in a timely manner to make it profitable, so we needed to go on and do this," he said. "You don't decide to build a football stadium and then have it set to open in January."

 

The next step, Griffith said, is to hold a series of public meetings to get input on the idea.

 

Ball teams "have been a tremendous success in some cities, but not in every city," he said.

 

"I don't have all the questions answered, but I know enough that I'm convinced there's 4 or 5 things that are very favorable for us to do this," Griffith added. "The least of which is that the state is on board and the economic engines of the city are on board."

 

Griffith said the stadium could bring in tourists from all over.

 

"Then, from there, they walk into our restaurants and casinos," he said.

 

The city has not officially announced specific details on the sports venue, but individual councilmen have said it will be a minor league baseball stadium that will be built downtown.

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Full article --

 

If there's not enough opposition, the bond could be issued anytime without an election for up to two years.

 

Stallworth also said that while no team has been named to play in the stadium, the city is confident a Double A team in the same league as Mobile and Pensacola can be brought in.

 

The city has "fairly good assurance that that would take place," he said.

 

***

 

Hmmmm.....

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Bay Bears safely entrenched in Mobile as Biloxi explores potential Southern League suitor for new baseball stadium

by John Sharp, al.com

 

MOBILE, Alabama – An existing Southern League team will likely move into Biloxi's new minor league baseball stadium, though the Bay Bears are safe in Mobile.

 

The Bay Bears have an existing lease with Hank Aaron Stadium that runs until 2022. According to team and city officials, there are no interests in relocating the franchise.

 

"Mobile is our home," Bill Shanahan, president/COO of the Bay Bears said. "The Bay Bears are in Hank Aaron Stadium for many years to come."

 

But Biloxi City Councilman Bill Stallworth, in whose ward the new Biloxi stadium will sit, said the city has been informed that "there is a team somewhere in the league willing to relocate."

 

The Biloxi City Council on Tuesday approved with a 5-2 vote, a resolution to purchase $21 million of general obligation bonds to help build a $35 million, 7,000-seat ball park near the Beau Rivage Casino & Resort.

 

"If we are getting the stadium built, they will do it," Stallworth said, declining to name the franchise. "We don't know who. We try not to find out. It's a very touchy issue with the league."

 

Lori Webb, president of the 10-team Southern League headquartered in Marietta, Ga., said no teams have applied for relocation at this time. She declined further comment.

 

Steve Densa, spokesman with Minor League Baseball, also declined comment, but admitted that the league's offices were aware of issue in Biloxi through news accounts.

 

"Any relocation would have to be approved by that club's league office before it made it to our offices," Densa said.

 

Two of the more likely franchises for relocation include those playing in the league's oldest ball parks, aside from Mobile – Hunstville and Jackson, Tenn.

 

Babs Rogers, assistant general manager with the Stars, said "we haven't heard anything" and referred all further questions to the Southern League's offices.

 

The Huntsville Stars play their home games at the 28-year-old Joe W. Davis Stadium, the oldest in the Southern League. In Jackson, the team plays in The Ballpark at Jackson, which opened in 1998. Hank Aaron Stadium opened in 1997.

 

The Jackson franchise was almost sold in 2006 under a deal brokered at the time by Tim Bennett, owner of the Mississippi-based Overtime Sports. The proposed sale fell through in November 2006, after specific deadlines needed for approval were not met.

 

Bennett is part of the team working on the Biloxi stadium project. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

 

In Huntsville, no known plans are in the works for a new stadium despite newer offerings built in Montgomery and Birmingham.

 

Scott Martens, Player Development and Minor League Operations Manager with the Milwaukee Brewers, said he's not familiar with the situation in Biloxi. The Brewers, the parent club of the Double A Stars, have a player development contract in place with the Huntsville club through the end of the 2014 season.

 

"If a Minor League club were to relocate under that development contract, the Major League team would have to give that approval," Martens said. "However ... there is a lot of stuff that would have to happen before it gets to the Major League club. If there is something that is going on, I am not aware of it."

 

Concerns about the future of baseball in Huntsville were heightened in 2011, when Pat O'Conner, president of Minor League Baseball, said he has "real concerns" about the long-term future of baseball in Huntsville.

 

Martens said a concern continues to be the age of Joe Davis Stadium.

 

"It's a stadium that should have been replaced 10 years ago," he said. "Over time, it's falling apart."

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Biloxi baseball doesn't mean Stars' days numbered, but change is needed

By Mark McCarter, Huntsville Times

 

Slim crowds have become a common sight for Huntsville Stars games at Joe Davis Stadium. (Huntsville Times Photo)

 

http://imgick.al.com/home/bama-media/width620/img/breaking/photo/10378840-mmmain.jpg

 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Once again, the hint of a new stadium elsewhere and the rush to write the obituary for the Huntsville Stars begins.

 

This time, it is Biloxi, Miss., with the jump-start.

 

The Biloxi City Council this week approved a proposal that could lead to a bond issue to borrow $20 million to construct a baseball stadium. It's still a long journey to a groundbreaking. However, it's a landmark step in a baseball-coming-to-Biloxi movement that's rustled in the weeds for years.

 

Biloxi would seek a Class AA team and Councilman Bill Stallworth told The Biloxi Sun-Herald there was a "fairly good assurance that that would take place."

 

It doesn't take Nancy Drew to deduct the franchise currently operating in Huntsville is a possibility. Ditto Jackson, Tenn. They've been the two most frequently mentioned as those to be uprooted should another city build a ballpark, having run neck-and-neck in the worst attendance race in the Southern League the past half-dozen years. The Stars, going into Friday's night's opener of a five-game home stand, had averaged only 1,718 fans per game, to 1,617 for Jackson.

 

Stars owner Miles Prentice (prior conversation with), who has yet to add his own presence to the Huntsville attendance figure, was unavailable for comment on Friday.

 

I can safely guess what he'd say, based on previous interviews. He'd say that "I get calls all the time from people interested in a team" and that "I don't negotiate in the newspaper."

 

My constant wish is that Prentice would sell the team, either to local people or to someone who'd be a better caretaker of the franchise here. I've always been puzzled that he'd let the Stars' operation deteriorate so badly that it devalued his investment.

 

There isn't the time or space here to go deep into the stadium debate. Invest heavily to update Joe Davis or build a new one downtown? There is merit to both.

 

Joe Davis Stadium is too big and too old and too outdated. I know I have a different perspective, having seen nearly every stadium in this league the last 30 years, but it's far and away the worst. Compare it with, say, the new stadium in Pensacola is like holding my prom picture next to a shot of George Clooney on the cover of Esquire.

 

Perhaps as more people from here see Birmingham's new stadium -- even though $64 million seems a bit obsene for a price tag for a community often in financial despair -- it can be Huntsville's best friend, causing a little envy.

 

Now, this will get the usual emails and posts from the spoil-sports. They are sad folks who, if they don't enjoy something, don't want others to have the chance to enjoy it. They will cry that Huntsville isn't a baseball town.

 

Maybe not. But it does appreciate a diversity of entertainment options. There is a big population and geographical base from which to draw, especially if the team were better marketed. Minor league baseball has obvious merit and interest for other cities comparable to Huntsville. It has drawn well here in the past. There is no reason it can't do so again, with the proper circumstances.

 

It needs a fresh start (September 2011 thoughts).

 

It needs a caring owner and a better approach in doing business.

 

Prentice has done this community a disservice. He's doing a greater one if he's dealing with Biloxi officials while ignoring responsibilities and contractural obligations here.

 

If an obit to the Stars is to be eventually written, apathy -- Prentice's and that of a community that hasn't been effectively encouraged to re-embrace baseball and provided a good environment in which to watch it -- can be noted as the cause of death.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Latest from Mark McCarter recaps earlier news

 

However, just wanted to highlight the timing points.

 

Stadium ready for 2014 season? Wow, really, haven't broken ground yet (subsequent updates in this thread now point to 2015 opening).

 

Stars lease runs through 2015

 

But the Jackson Generals lease runs for another eight years

 

***

 

Professional baseball will be coming to Biloxi, Miss., and that could be one step closer to professional baseball leaving Huntsville.

 

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway are scheduled to announce this afternoon that a new stadium will be built in downtown Biloxi and architectural designs will be unveiled, according to the Mississippi Business Journal.

 

The stadium will be built in time for the 2014 season.

 

Biloxi will try to land a Class AA team and join the Southern League. Earlier, Councilman Bill Stallworth told The Biloxi Sun-Herald there was a "fairly good assurance that that would take place."

 

Because of dwindling attendance and the state of Joe W. Davis Stadium, the oldest park in the Southern League, the Huntsville Stars is the team being most widely speculated about in the Mississippi reports.

 

Miles Prentice, the New York-based attorney who is the Stars' majority owner, did not respond Wednesday to interview requests from AL.com and The Huntsville Times.

 

Tim Bennett, executive director of Overtime Sports, which has brokered the effort to bring baseball to Biloxi, told the Mississippi Business Journal "I really can't say right now" in regard to the franchise he would bring to Biloxi.

 

The Stars' lease with the city of Huntsville expires at the end of the 2015, which would be contrary to Bennett's timetable.

 

"The league won't allow a team to break a lease and walk away from the stadium," Bennett told the Mississippi Business Journal. "That's part of the trick, because the difficulty is having a city ready to build at the right time, and a team in another city ready to get out of its lease."

 

Jackson, Tenn., which joins Huntsville at the bottom of the Southern League attendance figures, could also be vulnerable, but the team's lease with the city doesn't expire for eight years.

 

Another part of the scenario might find a Southern League city changing classification, much like what happened when Pensacola sought a team and landed the Reds' farm club in Zebulon, N.C., which in turn joined the Class A Carolina League. Both Jacksonville and Birmingham have stadiums built to Class AAA standards.

 

Prentice has asked for a "fairly significant" financial investment from the city of Huntsville in upgrading Joe Davis Stadium and has acknowledged his preference would be a new ballpark in downtown. City officials have also floated the idea of a new stadium.

 

New city manager of urban and long-range planning Dennis Madsen recently told The Times, "A new ballpark would really do wonders for the franchise. I think it would be just a great thing to have. Let's say you had it on Clinton (Avenue). You'd come down off the Parkway, and there's the Von Braun Center here and the ballpark here, and it's this great gateway into downtown. It's that kind of iconic moment that when people are visiting, they remember. When you drive into Chattanooga and see the bridge and the aquarium spiking over the river, that's the thing that sticks in your head. It has value beyond just the dollars you put into it. It's something that resonates deeper inside us - it moves us and gets us excited."

 

However, Prentice has made few visits to Huntsville since announcing the lease renewal two years ago, and he has had few conversations, including a visit by Mayor Tommy Battle to Prentice's office, with city officials about how to proceed.

 

***

 

With the Brewers' luck, when a potential new stadium association finally arrives, affiliate owners will seek to align with another organization. -- MH

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It's too bad that the Sounds just extended their Greer Stadium lease for three years through 2016, and not two through 2015.

 

In a dream scenario, Nashville ownership would move the team to Jacksonville or Birmingham and retain the Brewers as their AAA partner.

 

That would free up Biloxi as the new AA franchise. Huntsville ownership moves the Stars there and again maintains the Brewers relationship.

 

Opening Day 2016 would be sweet!

 

:)

 

Maybe Miles Prentice has been pinching his pennies to save up to buy his way out of the last two years of Huntsville's lease (or, as the update below indicates, is looking to sell the Stars to the Biloxi ownership group).

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RENDERING COURTESY OF DALE PARTNERS ARCHITECTS Gov. Phil Bryant today released the preliminary designs for a minor league baseball stadium in Biloxi, north of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. The hotel, restaurant and entertainment center will be built in Phase II.

 

http://media.sunherald.com/smedia/2013/05/30/15/24/W1sgY.AuSt.77.jpeg

 

Interesting -- Mississippi plans to use $15 million of BP oil spill recovery money to help build a minor league baseball stadium in downtown Biloxi. The rest of the $35 million stadium will be paid for by up to $21 million that the city of Biloxi has agreed to borrow.

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Even more interesting --

 

In 2012, Gov. Bryant began working with a baseball ownership group, led by team owner Ken Young, to identify a suitable site and potential financing for a stadium development.

 

Young, a former minor league executive of the year and owner of four minor league baseball franchises, is in the process of purchasing an existing minor league team and relocating the team to Biloxi.

 

***

 

And Miles Prentice can't be reached? Yikes, Huntsville...

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Another article (all from this afternoon):

 

Prior to construction, the ownership group will have to finalize the purchase of an existing franchise and receive approval from Minor League Baseball to relocate the franchise.

 

Holloway said following the press conference it would take about two years to construct the stadium.

 

"We've got a lot to do," he said.

 

***

 

That's the first more realistic timeline about a 2015 opening, which would then require only one buyout year on the Huntsville lease.

 

Extend with Huntsville now, Mr. Attanasio (Brewers are currently tied to the Stars through 2014).

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