For Sale: Quincy Gems Baseball team
The Quincy Civic Center authority will sell the Quincy Gems.
The board voted unanimously at its monthly meeting Wednesday to put the Prospect League collegiate team up for sale. The authority decided to sell the team deeming it financially insolvent.
"We've been operating the Gems for a long time," Rob Ebbing, executive director of the Oakley Lindsay Center and the Quincy Gems said. "They help cash flow us through the summertime but if the cash flow is negative it's not helping the cash flow. In the last few years during the down economy we haven't made our marks, so it's time for us to really sit down and assess what we've been doing here in the last couple of weeks and making some changes."
The team has seen a $65,000 loss over the past season from less corporate sponsorship sales and increased travel expenses.
One of the big changes included letting marketing director Dave "Chickenman" Comer go after seven years on the job.
"We created that position about six years ago when sales were rising," Ebbing said. "With sales declining it just doesn't make economical sense to keep that position alive."
Comer tearfully thanked the board for their support over the years especially during his fight with cancer.
"You know, it's been a privilege to work for the Quincy Gems," Comer said. "You know baseball's been in Quincy since 1866. We brought three championships to the league, to Quincy. I was very fortunate to be a part of that, have a lot of great memories to go along with that and you know, things change and you've got to move on."
Ebbing said the franchise cost to start a new Prospect League team is $175,000, but the Gems are willing to negotiate terms of the sale.
"Our goal is to keep baseball in Quincy," he said. "We would hope to find a local investor to take over the operations of the team and continue the commitment to our loyal sponsors and fans."
The 11-team league includes the Hannibal Cavemen. The Gems have been a part of Quincy at QU Stadium for 18 seasons. Ebbing said the Oakley Lindsay Center will continue to operate the Gems for the 2014 season.