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Generals Issue Letter to City of Jackson Regarding Future

January 22, 2021 - Southern League (SL) - Jackson Generals News Release


Fans enjoy a game at The Ballpark at Jackson, home of the Jackson Generals
Fans enjoy a game at The Ballpark at Jackson, home of the Jackson Generals
(Jackson Generals)

The Jackson Generals have issued the following letter, in response to the serving of a lease termination notice by the City of Jackson:

Mayor Conger,

I acknowledge receipt of the letter delivered on your behalf by the City Attorney yesterday.

You have correctly identified the critical paragraph in the License and Use Agreement (Article IIIF), which states that the "Club covenants it will always be a member of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Inc. of "A", "AA", or "AAA", and if it loses its National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Inc. affiliation, this license terminates automatically without any further action by the City." You have reached an incorrect conclusion about the process that is ongoing within Minor League Baseball. Major League Baseball ("MLB") has elected not to renew its recently expired contract with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Inc. (a/k/a "Minor League Baseball" or "MiLB").

The contracts between MLB and MiLB spanned in excess of 100 years, but that era is evolving. MLB has elected to start its own "Development Leagues" and has invited 120 current/former members of MiLB to join the new Development Leagues. Despite our pleas, the Jackson Generals did not receive an invitation from MLB (as an aside, given your unwillingness to advocate for either the team or the city during the MLB interview process, I am deeply troubled by your secret conversations with MLB prior to MLB's final decisions and announcements).

If invited MiLB teams elect to join the new MLB Development Leagues by February 10, 2020, they will withdraw from their respective MiLB leagues. The Generals play in the Southern League, which is a member of MiLB. The Southern League has bylaws that lay out a specific process for any members that wish to withdraw. The Generals will not withdraw from the Southern League. The Generals will remain in the Southern League and the Southern League will remain a member of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Inc. Thus, our License Agreement will remain intact.

The Generals will remain in Jackson and will continue to field a professional baseball team within Major League Baseball's new "One Baseball" umbrella. I hope you will support this effort and will take pride in our willingness to make the very best of this evolving landscape. Unless you personally attempt to stand in the way, the Jackson Generals will continue to field a high-quality professional baseball team, continue to provide affordable family entertainment to the community, continue to take the high risks associated with promoting live musical events, continue to provide 150 jobs and a $2 million annual local spend within the City, and continue to provide an annual economic impact of $6-10 million for the local economy. The team's owners are willing to continue to invest in Jackson. I cannot fathom how our state would partner with a mayor on future economic development projects if you maliciously harm Tennesseans that have invested tens of millions of dollars in your community. Further, I cannot fathom any private sector business that would invest in a community where the new mayor exacts such vicious political revenge on the former mayor and on businessmen that supported a different mayoral candidate in the previous election.

While I'm addressing inappropriate behaviors, the time has come for you to stop mischaracterizing any inadequacies in the City's processes and procedures related to the City's disclosure, vetting, approval, and/or administration of the License Agreement. The owners of the baseball team have supported the financial obligations of the team as a labor of love and as an investment in our state. We have rebuffed multiple offers to relocate the team outside of the state and never once attempted to leverage those offers against the City. Efforts to twist any historical shortcomings of City Hall into false allegations against the team's former general manager are reprehensible.

Even if you had the legal right to terminate the License Agreement and run professional baseball and $6-10 million of economic impact out of Jackson, which you clearly don't, why in the world would you want to do so? Who is pushing such a self-serving agenda? And why?

My request to you - - and my offer to you - - is that we turn the page on this relationship and focus on a productive relationship in the best interests of the community. A relationship that maintains professional baseball in Jackson, continues to develop the stadium as a concert venue, and continues to maximize activation of the stadium.

Here is my offer:

We will keep professional baseball in Jackson. We will continue to vigorously seek concert opportunities as a co-promotor. We will give back $400,000 annually that was promised to the team by dedicating and investing those dollars into maintaining the City's stadium. We ask for NOTHING in return other than your enthusiastic embrace of maintaining professional baseball in Jackson and your willingness to accept $400,000 annually on behalf of taxpayers.

The alternative is for the City to cure its ongoing 10-year breach of the License Agreement and move forward with funding the Hotel and Conference Center as promised in the License Agreement.

Keep the Jackson Generals. Recapture $400,000 annually. Regardless of your decision, the team has a valid contract for the next 24 years and will be announcing its future baseball plans in the coming days. Please be our partner, our ally, and our supporter. An immediate reply is requested.

Sincerely, /s/ David S. Freeman David S. Freeman, Chairman





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Fans enjoy a game at The Ballpark at Jackson, home of the Jackson Generals
Fans enjoy a game at The Ballpark at Jackson, home of the Jackson Generals

  

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