Giants likely to renew deal with Augusta, but want better facilities

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Augusta has been connected with San Francisco for eight seasons of minor league baseball thanks to a player development contract between the Giants and the GreenJackets.

Extending that agreement with team owner Ripken Baseball for another two seasons seems likely, according to Giants Vice President of Baseball Operations Bobby Evans, but a renewal won’t come without another stern reminder that facilities need to improve at the aging Lake Olmstead Stadium.

“They’ve approached us about coming back, and I think that we just want to be clear about what the future is relative to facilities,” Evans said. “We love being a part of the South Atlantic League and we really like Augusta, but you want to have your players develop in an environment that works for them on a development side.”

Daily thunderstorms caused havoc during the GreenJackets’ last homestand.

While rainouts are considered part of the game, the team’s two batting cages are located outdoors and exposed to the weather. Not only did the Giants’ prospects miss out on playing time, they didn’t even get to practice on days when afternoon rain fell.

“The reality is the facilities are probably the biggest downside for us right now,” Evans said. “We have a cage that’s covered, which I applaud ownership for doing that, but when you lose development days due to rain you need to have facilities that can accommodate the work you need to get in. We obviously had to leave the cage as soon as it started raining.”

The GreenJackets have added a weight room in recent years but its located apart from the team’s clubhouse and training facility, which is also disconnected from the outdoor batting cages.

“To pull your club into three different locations for development, it’s really not ideal,” Evans said. “I think ultimately we’d like to resolve those problems. Those are certainly the pressure points we’ve put on the Ripken people to address.”

TOP TEAM: A doubleheader sweep at Hagerstown over the weekend temporary put the GreenJackets in sole possession of first place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division.

Though six weeks remain in the regular season schedule, the GreenJackets know they have plenty of work to do to keep their position.

“We want to make a run at this thing in the second half and go to the playoffs,” outfielder Brett Krill said. “We’ve been doing well, but we’ve still got a long way to go to get to where we want to go.”

Where the team wants to go this season is Asheville, where the first-half Southern Division champions await a second-half winner for the first round of the playoffs.

Manager Lipso Nava said reaching the playoffs is the team’s goal but talking about it isn’t.

“I think it is too early to look at,” Nava said last week before his team left for an eight-game road trip. “I think this next series on the road will probably dictate our fate later on, but I think it’s a little too early to look at all that. I just want the guys to keep focused on the long run. August is a tough month here, especially with the weather.”

ROAD WARRIORS: The will have to get used to winning on the road if it wants to keep playing past the regular season.

The last 34 games on the schedule include 27 away from home.

While the team does hit better on the road, the pitching is another story. Augusta’s arms are 28-23 at home this season but just 18-25 on the road.

Krill said he and his teammates shouldn’t be intimidated by playing on the road after all the trips they’ve already made this season.

“The only place we’re going to that we haven’t been to yet is Delmarva,” he said. “So we’re familiar with all of the fields. We look forward to the challenge. There’s going to be other teams fighting for that second playoff spot, and we want it. We’re definitely up to the challenge, and we’re going to go after it.”

The GreenJackets will wrap up their current road trip at Lexington on Thursday and return home Friday for a three-game series with Hickory.

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Just My Opinion
6271
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Just My Opinion 07/23/12 - 07:22 pm
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Hmmmm, the baseball team

Hmmmm, the baseball team wants better accomadations, huh? Gee, it doesn't really sound like the ones they have down at Lake Olmstead are good enough, does it? Gosh, you think maybe there's some other place here in Augusta that might make for a good place to put a ballpark? Anybody have any idea of where'd be a good place to put a new ballpark DOWN...somewhere around this TOWN?? Okay...just wanted to throw that out there so the local sharks can go after it and tear it apart!!! (I'm going to bed early tonight, so I'll be sure and check in first thing in the morning to see what y'all worked out!)

Jake
34096
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Jake 07/23/12 - 07:50 pm
8
1
Giants

The stadium is always full out here in San Francisco so the Gnats, err.....I mean Giants, must be making quite a haul. Let THEM funnel money to the Augusta area for a new stadium or upgraded facilities.
Go Braves!!!

Pops
14471
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Pops 07/23/12 - 08:14 pm
6
1
The classification is Low A

Hey Cal, upgrade the team here to, let's say, Double A and then ask for some improvements.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 07/23/12 - 08:19 pm
8
1
Dear, Cal

Two words: Buh bye.

P.S. If you build it, they will come. If we build it, you will leave (us with the bill).

Gage Creed
19410
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Gage Creed 07/23/12 - 08:46 pm
4
1
Jim Jacoby don't build no AA

Jim Jacoby don't build no AA stadiums.....\sarcasm\

fatboyhog
2104
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fatboyhog 07/23/12 - 09:23 pm
3
1
Send the Giants packing. I

Send the Giants packing. I don't like them anyway. This is BRAVES country. Become an affiliate with anyone else. Jettison the Giants. How about the Orioles?

zippy
250
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zippy 07/23/12 - 09:40 pm
4
7
stadium

I don’t think the citizens know how baseball does business. Right now, who do you think owns the current stadium? We do. By asking Ripkin Baseball to spend their money to upgrade, they would be spending money on property they do not own. They probably would refuse to do that just as you think that they want us to spend our money to "build them a stadium". The fact is, if we build one, we can lease it to them during baseball season, use it for other functions during the off season or road trips. It’s a win win for us, provided that we have the money to do it. I would not want to bankrupt the local government to do it, but i do not see a downside. It will make money for us.

Riverman1
93854
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Riverman1 07/23/12 - 10:40 pm
6
1
The batting cage is covered

The batting cage is covered and there is a weight room in the other building we gave them not too many years ago...the old Highway Patrol Office. So what's the REAL problem? An independent league would work well in these parts.

Riverman1
93854
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Riverman1 07/23/12 - 10:52 pm
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Just My O, great post!!!

Just My O, great post!!!

itsanotherday1
48344
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itsanotherday1 07/23/12 - 11:02 pm
1
3
I have mixed feelings about

I have mixed feelings about it. Having professional sports in a town is an amenity just as are venues like The Bell and The JBA for other forms of entertainment. If you have the notion that everything needs to be totally private, then bye bye Patriot's Park, Diamond Lakes, The new Evans park and pavilion, Riverwalk, Canal Path, North Augusta Greeneway, Lions Field and Park in NA, May Park, etc., etc., etc. The promoters who bring acts to the Bell and JBA make money, while the taxpayers lose on those buildings. That isn't so much different than subsidizing a ballpark where the resident team makes money and the taxpayers break even or lose a little.

Dunno to be honest. There has to be a happy medium somewhere that allows our community to have nice amenities that enhance the local quality of life; without breaking the bank.

Now, when it comes to big leagues that are making gazillions of dollars, let them do what Dallas Cowboys did, build your own durn stadium!

rebellious
21882
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rebellious 07/23/12 - 11:26 pm
6
2
Not so mixed emotions

Does anyone really believe that Mr. Ripken is shaving dollars so he can support a team in Augusta? I can't imagine what the total Giants margin is, and I mean top to bottom, majors all the way down through the training camp. You must look at the total Giants system margin. The minors are built to train and "look" at newbies. Not to sell tickets, not to make money. It is the investment side of the equation. The "Show" is the earnings side of the business.

Ok, is it cool to have a minor league team in town....Sure. But in this economic environment, is it smart to start that whole if we don't get better facilities, we may leave argument? I think not. It is not like people are driving, flying into town, renting hotel rooms, eating at restaurants, etc.. to enjoy a weekend homestand of the Jackets.

Bad , Badddd timing. Even for the Boy King, bad idea, bad timing. Hey maybe the Paul Simon managed Billy Morris group could get 7 million kicked in for this. bet that gets me flagged! Then they can manage the parking

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 07/24/12 - 01:02 am
7
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I'm against taxpayers

I'm against taxpayers building a new stadium, but...

In hindsight, we could have built a half dozen baseball stadiums (land included) for the price we paid to build one parking deck.

Little Lamb
49125
Points
Little Lamb 07/24/12 - 06:53 am
5
1
Drought

We are in a multi-year drought. Just look at the withering corn outside town. If "afternoon rain showers" on the batting cages is the worst thing the Giants have to complain about, then I say the ballpark at Lake Olmstead is the right place for the Greenjackets.

If they lose out on development time in the afternoon, perhaps they can shift their batting practice time to the morning.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 07/24/12 - 07:48 am
2
3
Stong points LL. The corn is

Stong points LL. The corn is looking parched. Look at the Lake too. It's obvious that no matter how much rain comes down above us, that lake is going to stay low by design. I point that out to illustrate how we equate the word satisfactory with half-hearted. They aren't the same.

Augusta, home to a minor league baseball team with a plywood outfield wall held up by 2x4's. It looks like they are repairing a cargo ship in dry dock. Don't get all bunched-up about where to put an updated stadium. Just committ to the idea of building one, like the point Zippy and Day1 make, nobody else is going to build it for us. Then we discuss logistics. It a horse before the wagon thing. Rather than perpetuating a debate to the point where everyone is sick of the topic, take some action and then develop it. I know "GASP!!!"

Riverman1
93854
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Riverman1 07/24/12 - 08:18 am
7
1
What's Wrong With Plywood Fences?

Aren't all minor league wooden fences made with plywood panels? I know a section blew down once in the storm, but that could happen to any kind of fence, anywhere.

By the way, Winchester, VA is considering building a stadium to attract a minor league team, presumably from our SAL League. Total projected cost of their stadium is $15 million. They also won't use any tax money. Interesting they can do it so much cheaper than our projected $30 million stadium on the river.

Riverman1
93854
Points
Riverman1 07/24/12 - 08:22 am
7
1
What's Wrong with Lake Olmstead Stadium?

There's a book out where they looked at all the minor league stadiums in the country. Lake Olmstead Stadium was rated highly.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 07/24/12 - 08:50 am
3
4
Point taken Rman1 and

Point taken Rman1 and F4therTime. But maybe I'm one of THOSE people that wants to exceed the status quo. Get MY point?

Riverman1
93854
Points
Riverman1 07/24/12 - 09:19 am
4
1
Sure, it depends on how you look at things

David, I get your point, too, but we have to be realists. The true city of Augusta population as defined by the pre consolidation census is 44,000. We also know the per capita income of residents is low. Throwing these mega projects into the downtown area is like Ludowici building an NFL football stadium. It just doesn't make sense to spend that much money with the demographics.

Contrast Columbia County and how they have slowly built the amphitheaters, parks and so on. They build reasonable facilities that their population can pay for and will support.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/24/12 - 09:58 am
2
1
Let me get this right...

Based on the comments from this GreenJackets guy, they no longer want a new stadium.

They are only demanding that we build them an attached workout facility and inside batting cages.

Is that correct?

countyman
21638
Points
countyman 07/24/12 - 10:20 am
1
5
Lake Olmstead stadium is a

Lake Olmstead stadium is located next to public housing, and it's a joke compared to the stadiums in Greenville, Greensboro, Durham, etc.. Developers don't care about the per capita income of the old city limits... Developers build things based on metro areas, and city limits are never used... Some cities have annexed nearby towns/areas, and states like South Carolina are very strict in terms of annexation. The median income & per capita of Richmond County is similar to it's peers anyway...

Millions of people visit the city of Augusta every year.. The Riverwalk is the biggest attraction, and the GGHF property is located right on the river.. Nothing big in Richmond County is built solely for it's residents, because Augusta is the main city of a metro close to 600k & CSRA over 700k people...

People don't even know how much Cal Ripken & Jim Jacoby plan on spending... We still have to wait for Dr. Azziz's decision on the GGHF property on the Riverwalk... The mayor is no longer calling for an public/private between the city, and probably want need any tax dollars anymore..

Cal Ripken wants to create an mixed-entertainment center, and not a regular baseball stadium... This doesn't include the mix-use development proposed by Jim Jacoby..

Riverman1
93854
Points
Riverman1 07/24/12 - 10:07 am
4
1
Insider Info, ha, that's what

Insider Info, ha, that's what they said. So let's build the batting cages and weight room attached. End of problem.

countyman
21638
Points
countyman 07/24/12 - 10:15 am
1
3
When you have the new

When you have the new university of GHSU/ASU gaining control of the GGHF property... There's no reason to have the public/private partnership between the city and Ripken basball/Jacoby Group anymore...

Riverman1
93854
Points
Riverman1 07/24/12 - 10:25 am
3
1
Attendance and Concession Sales

Attendance and concession sales determine how well a stadium is working to me. Lake Olmstead does fantastically in both categories. Player development is another matter and possibly some kind of indoor facility can be built cheaply there. There's plenty land. If there were a stadium on the river, there probably wouldn't be space for such a training facility.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 07/24/12 - 10:53 am
1
1
Reality bites! @ River

Reality bites!

@ River

itsanotherday1
48344
Points
itsanotherday1 07/24/12 - 01:21 pm
3
0
Being next to the project is

Being next to the project is significant. Though it doesn't bother you and me; the perception for many is that it is an unsavory area. The same can be said for the JBA; many say they won't come to a hockey game down there because of the location. I've been going for 10+ years with nary an issue aside from the occasional panhandler who comes through where we tailgate.

Little Lamb
49125
Points
Little Lamb 07/24/12 - 03:50 pm
1
2
Sunny

Some people are born whiny and pessimistic. Bobby Evans sounds like one of them. Too much rain in Augusta for batting practice. Well, it's sunny right now. How about having some batting practice now?

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 07/24/12 - 04:44 pm
2
1
The REAL story..

Someone asked "why isn't Lake Olmstead stadium good enough?"Answer. It's NOT about the stadium. It's about the bogus Augusta SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPEMENT Plan which includes using that property for condos, which can't be built until the stadium is moved to property downtown owned by the four or five richest families in Augusta.....

dwb619
104282
Points
dwb619 07/24/12 - 06:49 pm
1
1
Parking

Where would parking be available for a "river front stadium"?

CobaltGeorge
176073
Points
CobaltGeorge 07/24/12 - 07:09 pm
1
1
6

levels high, 2 acres per level build over it for a cost of $651 million. Sounds good to me.......

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