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Suns lease extended

September 25, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Minor league baseball will stay in Hagerstown at least one more year.

The Hagerstown Suns will get a one-year lease extension to use Municipal Stadium after City Council members approved the extension through the 1998 season by a 3-1 vote.

Councilman Wally McClure voted against the extension because he wanted more than one year.

McClure said he wants the Suns to stay. So as not to rush into building a new stadium and to allow for more time to help the team improve its marketing at Municipal Stadium, McClure said he wanted to delay the vote to negotiate for a two- or three-year extension.

Suns owner Winston Blenckstone was in the middle of a 10-year lease and exercised his option to leave after five years. Instead he had said he wanted a one-year extension to allow for time to work on plans for a sports complex by Interstate 81 that would include a new baseball stadium.

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Councilman Bill Breichner said Blenckstone didn't think he could commit beyond one more year.

"He's receiving, to be candid, offers to buy this club now. How long can he look a gift horse in the mouth? He's giving us one more year to consider that," Breichner said.

Blenckstone had said he didn't know whether the Class A Toronto Blue Jays' affiliated-team would stay or not after the one-year extension if a new stadium wasn't in the works.

Councilman Lewis Metzner said Blenckstone has been fair with the city and, in turn, the city should be fair with him by granting a one-year extension.

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