Albany -- Albany leaders says taxpayers have nothing to lose if they bring another baseball team to town, even though past teams have struck out.
The South Coast League, an independent start up league, has agreed to pay for more than $100,000 to repair and renovate the Paul Eames Sports Complex. And the contract calls for the team to pay the City $18,000 a year for three years to rent the facility.
It's been four years since Albany's had professional baseball. In 2002, the Waves rolled out of town headed to Columbus after just one season. Now, city commissioners are nearing a deal to bring another team to the plate. "We're going to give them a chance," said City Commissioner Bob Langstaff.
City commissioners are discussing a three year contract with the South Coast League. South Coast League CEO Jamie Toole says, "We're investing in this community."
Toole said the team is willing to take the Paul Eames Sports complex as-is and to pay for some renovations to the office and buy a new scoreboard. "We're putting out an olive branch to the community to say we're willing to put our dollars out to make this a better place to come. We hope you guys will come out in return and enjoy baseball in 2007."
2007 -- that's when a team would hit the field. So far, four other cities including Macon, Aiken, South Carolina, Charlotte County Florida and Bradenton, Florida have signed on to form a team. Another South Carolina city is also in negotiations.
"It's a 50 game home schedule. So you'll play the other teams 20 times during the season which is pretty normal for minor league baseball," said Toole.
Commissioners says even though baseball's history has been a shut-out, they're willing to give another team a chance because taxpayer's aren't having to spend any money. "The great thing about it is they're putting money into it, capital improvements to fix the facility up. That's not something that anyone has offered to do before. They're really putting their money where their mouth is," said Langstaff.
But commissioners do want the team to put down a deposit or performance bond. "To make sure if something happens during the term of the lease that there's money there to back up their promises," said Langstaff.
The league promises to the city is three years of baseball, rain or shine, empty stands or not.
The league expects to charged about five or six dollars for adults, with kids under 12 getting in free. The lease would start around October and the teams plans to use the first five months to market the team and get sponsors.