Swartz: Suns owner talking to other cities

June 24, 2002|by DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown Suns owner Andrew Rayburn is talking to other cities interested in the Suns, Washington County Commissioners Vice President Paul L. Swartz said Friday.

Swartz, a longtime supporter of building a new stadium for the Suns in Hagerstown, said he spoke with Rayburn around June 6.

"He said he was talking to other cities that would be interested in having the team," Swartz said.

"He did not come out and say he wanted to move or sell the Suns," Swartz said. "But the way I read between the lines, I think there's a strong possibility."


Swartz said he believes the Suns will leave Hagerstown if there is no plan for a new stadium by the beginning of next season.

"If there's nothing by next season, we're history, in my opinion," Swartz said.

Rayburn could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Swartz said Rayburn did not tell him with which cities he's been speaking.

In April, Rayburn said he was not speaking with any other cities about potential interest in the Suns.

Rayburn also said he hoped to have a proposed site and funding plan for a new Hagerstown stadium sometime this summer. He said a funding plan would call for money from the state, county and Hagerstown governments as well as the private sector.

Past efforts to secure government funding for a new Hagerstown baseball stadium have been unsuccessful.

The Suns, a Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, play home games at Hagerstown's Municipal Stadium.

Swartz said it is important to keep minor league baseball in Hagerstown. As an economic development tool, the Suns make Hagerstown a more attractive community to companies looking for a place to locate, Swartz said.

Also, the Suns add to the quality of life of area residents, he said.

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