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Local Sports

August 21, 2013

Owner says Hawkeyes may leave

Cox named best pitcher in league

Eann Cox is the first Cooperstown Hawkeyes player to receive Pitcher of the Year honors from the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

He could be the last one, too.

Hawkeyes president and majority owner Tom Hickey said Friday he’s considering a “serious offer” to move his PGCBL franchise to another upstate New York municipality after his summer college baseball team drew 599 fans per home game to Doubleday Field this past season.

“It has been increasingly difficult to do business in Cooperstown,” said Hickey, whose team completed its third PGCBL season July 31 and finished last in the five-team East Division with an 18-25 record (.419 winning percentage).

“A couple of years ago, I would not even have listened,” he continued. “But now it seems like the village has other things that are more important than having a team.”

Hickey then criticized historic Doubleday Field, which has hosted games featuring Major League Baseball players and alumni since 1940, for not being up to par with other PGCBL facilities.

“Doubleday Field is not what it needs to be,” he said. “No lights are really hurting us. Starting a game at 5 p.m. is not a good way to attract fans. It is not easy to draw fans at that time of day. If we could start at 7:10 pm., I think it would be much better for business.”

“In addition, we have no clubhouses, no showers, no office space,” Hickey continued. “And paid parking has made it more and more difficult, too. There’s paid parking in town and paid parking in the Doubleday Field lot. We asked the village if they would suspend it during Hawkeyes’ games and they said no. Well, where are you going to park for baseball games then?”

Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz offered a no comment when asked to respond to Hickey’s remarks.

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