January 9, 2003
Albany- The Wilmington now South Georgia Waves could soon be calling Evansville, Indiana home.
Paul Hatfield, assessor for the Pigeon Township, told Newscenter 10 Thursday night that Waves owner David Heller reached a deal this week to move the team to Evansville next year--provided a proposed baseball stadium is ready.
Hatfield says a formal announcement is expected Tuesday in Evansville.
A spokesman for Evansville's Baseball Implementation Committee would not comment on Hatfield's remarks.
Albany Mayor Tommy Coleman says while Heller has been negotiating in Evansville, he has also been talking with officials here about a contract for Eames Stadium.
Mayor Coleman says the Waves want to play in Albany in 2003 with an option for 2004.
Coleman indicated to Newscenter 10 Thursday night that if the Waves have reached a deal to move to Evansville, it could have bearing on what position the city of Albany may take in its current talks with a contract for Eames Stadium.
David Heller and Mandalay Entertainment purchased the Wilmington Waves in March of last year and promptly moved the team to Albany due to the lack of a suitable stadium.
At the time, the Waves agreed to a three year lease with Albany for the Eames Stadium but Mayor Coleman says that lease agreement was never signed.
Heller became sole owner last summer when he was also in the running for a baseball development deal with the city of Montgomery that was awarded to another minor league owner.
Newscenter 10 was unable to contact David Heller Thursday night.
News of an impending move overshadows an earlier announcement of the coaching staff for the South Georgia Waves for the 2003 season.
Dann Bilardello, who led the Dodgers Great Falls team to the Pioneer League championship in his first season as a manager last year, will be the skipper for the Waves.
Roger McDowell will return as pitching coach after the Waves posted the second best earned run average in the South Atlantic league.
Garey Ingram of Columbus will be the hitting coach, Ed Kohl will handle strength and conditioning and trainer Carlos Oliva will return for a second season.
The South Georgia Waves will open the season on the road on April 3rd at Charleston, South Carolina. Their home opener is April 7th against the Rome Braves.