Posted by Terry Alexander - email
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The deal to bring a team from Connecticut to Richmond has folded just as hall of fame pitcher Nolan Ryan sends a group here looking to invest. We learned late this afternoon that the Richmond Baseball Club would not be able come up with the 15 million dollars necessary to bring the Connecticut Defenders to the river city.
A deal to bring the defenders to Richmond from Norwich, Connecticut was supposed to be finalized by Sunday.
A spokesperson for Richmond Baseball says that will not happen. But the president of the Eastern Baseball League insists a team will play at the Diamond next season.
"We've previously made that commitment to the mayor and we intend to follow through on that," said Eastern Baseball League President Joe McEacharn.
Standing at the site of a proposed baseball stadium for Shockoe Bottom, the league president said there were several investors and several teams interested in playing here.
"We want to learn from the past. We don't want to make similar mistakes that have been made here before and we want a long term success story," McEacharn.
McEacharn says the league is looking for the best fit for Richmond. And hall of fame pitcher Nolan Ryan may have the cash flow to help a deal pull through.
Ryan's son toured the Diamond Wednesday afternoon. Ryan-Sanders Baseball owns two teams in Texas and is spending two days in town deciding whether or not to invest in Richmond.
"They're really nice folks very knowledgeable obviously about baseball. We made a very thorough inspection of the facility and I'd like to think we answer most of their questions. Where it all may lead is difficult to say at this time," said Mike Barry, RMA General Manager.
The Eastern Baseball League president says a decision must be made by August first. He also says more investors will be touring the city and the stadium in the next few weeks.