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Baseball club had no right to make agreement with Goldeyes: Jackson Mayor

The mayor of Jackson, Tenn., says its baseball club had no right to enter an agreement with the Winnipeg Goldeyes to allow the Canadian team to play the 2021 season there.

The Jackson Baseball Club, which owns the Jackson Generals, and the Winnipeg Goldeyes announced Thursday that the Fish would play at least part of the season at the local stadium, the Ballpark at Jackson.

But Jackson Mayor Scott Conger called the announcement “inaccurate,” noting the city owns the Ballpark, not the Generals.

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“Since losing its AA status, the Club has been in material breach of its Agreement with the City,” a statement from Conger says.

“The Club had no authority to enter into its purported arrangement with the Goldeyes — a Canadian team without an A, AA, or AAA affiliation — for use of the City’s stadium this season.

“The Club did so without the knowledge or consent of the City as owner of the facility.”

Goldeyes owner Sam Katz told 680 CJOB that he remains confident things will proceed as planned.

“Based on everything that I know of from both sides, and the fact that the Jackson Generals right now are running that facility — they’re doing baseball tournaments, they’re doing concerts, they’re doing all sorts of events — our belief is that everything is OK for us to proceed, and we will be proceeding.

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“We’ll let the other two parties resolve their issues.”

Katz said the team intends to head to Jackson on May 13 to complete its spring training, and that the Goldeyes are staying out of the spat between mayor and team.

“It’s extremely apparent at this stage of the game that there’s a disagreement between the Jackson generals and the mayor — that’s pretty obvious,” he said.

“The matter between the two of them is going to arbitration. We’re not involved in it, we’re not going to get involved with it, and hopefully they will get it resolved to their satisfaction.”

Generals lawyer Bob Boston said in a statement that this situation is part of an ongoing dispute between the two parties.

“Until this matter is resolved by the arbitration, or until the mayor sits down with the team to discuss the issues, the team intends to maximize the economic benefits and entertainment options to the City and West Tennessee residents, which is what the team has done since 2008.”

On Thursday, Goldeyes general manager Andrew Collier told Global News the team had been looking for a more permanent spot to play while restrictions continue due to COVID-19 in Manitoba.

Last season, the Fish played on the road out of Fargo, N.D., sharing the facilities with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.

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“We wanted our own spot. We wanted a home away from home,” Collier said.

“It was a great option,” Collier said. “Jackson was one of the 40 minor league teams that lost their affiliation last year. The Ballpark at Jackson was sitting there — a beautiful ballpark ready to go, but no team.

“It’s 100 per cent better than spending the season as a road team, basically living in hotels and not having a home.”

Read more: Winnipeg Goldeyes moving to Jackson, Tenn., temporarily

The Ballpark at Jackson is a 6,000-seat field that was built in 1998.

“The Jackson Generals are thrilled to host the Goldeyes at The Ballpark at Jackson this summer,” said Generals general manager Marcus Sabata in a media release. “The pandemic has been tough on everyone, so when the opportunity to host Winnipeg arose, we were happy to help out a fellow ball club.

“Although our fans look forward to welcoming the Generals back in 2022, I have no doubt that Jackson will show Winnipeg some true southern hospitality in the meantime.”

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Click to play video: 'New lease deal for Goldeyes park' New lease deal for Goldeyes park
New lease deal for Goldeyes park – Oct 29, 2020

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