The Cooperstown Hawkeyes will not play baseball at Doubleday Field during the 2014 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season – or anywhere else, for that matter.
On Oct. 30, PGCBL President Jeff Kunion confirmed that Hawkeyes owner Tom Hickey is looking move his summer franchise from Doubleday Field and has requested a voluntary suspension for the 2014 season as a result.
“They are going to take a year off,” said Kunion, adding that Hickey’s request was officially granted during a Wednesday night conference call involving PGCBL members. “Their negotiations with Doubleday Field reached an impasse, so they’re looking for another facility.”
Kunion said the PGCBL offers the option of voluntary suspensions to owners who may be struggling to sustain a franchise in a particular area.
Hickey said Thursday he’s involved in negotiations to build a new baseball complex in the vicinity of Cooperstown.
“I can’t tell you unequivocally we’ll have it up and running (for the 2015 season), but we’ll be on the road to doing that, if all goes well,” Hickey said. “I can’t be 100 percent, but it looks good.”
Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz said he was sorry to see the Hawkeyes leave, but he said he felt like it became clear that Hickey was moving in that direction since this summer when he began publicly speaking about his dissatisfaction with Doubleday Field, the village and the village’s officials.
“Every year the Board of Trustees approved the contract,” Katz said. “Clearly there was some benefit to having them here in Cooperstown.
“Tom was clearly unhappy with the village and the field,” he continued. “Doubleday Field is still Doubleday Field. It hasn’t changed since he came here. Doubleday Field is no better or worse than when the Hawkeyes started playing here.”
Hickey said he was given assurances that improvements would be made to Doubleday Field when he moved the team there in 2010.