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November 7, 2013

Hawkeyes going inactive, leaving Doubleday

(Continued)

Katz said Hickey gave the village a “take it or leave it offer” to keep the Hawkeyes in Cooperstown. The offer was a flat fee of $1,000 for rentals for 20 to 25 games in 2014, a certification from the state Department of Health that Doubleday Field is safe, sanitary and free from all illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia, and an agreement that the village suspend paid parking at Doubleday Field after 4 p.m. on days of Hawkeyes games.

Hickey said the reason for the stipulation about illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia came because of the way he said Doubleday was left following a mid-July concert by Further, a Grateful Dead legacy band.

Rentals for Doubleday Field are $500 per game Friday through Sunday and $400 per game Monday through Thursday. Under Hickey’s proposal, the Hawkeyes would have paid $40 to $50 per game.

“The reality is those bookings are going to happen anyway, especially the ones on Friday through Sunday,” Katz said.

In August, Hickey told The Daily Star that he was considering a “serious offer” to move the Hawkeyes to another upstate New York municipality. Hickey went on to say Doubleday Field is inadequate for a PGCBL franchise, citing its lack of lights, clubhouses, showers and office space.

Hickey also said in August that paid parking in Cooperstown and a rent increase to use the field led to a loss of fans and revenue during the 2013 season, when the Hawkeyes went 18-25 to finish last in the five-team East Division.

“Other teams pay for facilities with lighting, concession stands and locker rooms and they pay a third, or less than a third, of what it costs to operate Doubleday Field,” Hickey said. “The village under Mr. Katz is completely disinterested in negotiating anything reasonable.”

In 2013, the Hawkeyes paid $10,000 to rent the field for 23 scheduled games. The $10,000 rental fee was slightly more than the per-day rental average. However, the Hawkeyes also had the right to sell banner advertising for the field grandstands, and food and beer at the games. None of those sales are granted to groups that do day rentals. In 2012 and 2011, the Hawkeyes paid $8,000 to rent the field, and in 2010, they paid $10,000.

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