The city of Frederick remains committed to making sure the Frederick Keys stay in the city and playing at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium, and has had no discussions on how the stadium could be used if not for minor league baseball, said Mayor Michael O’Connor.

The Keys were included on a preliminary list released last year of teams that could be eliminated under a proposal between major and minor league baseball to eliminate more than three dozen minor league affiliates.

While the Keys’ departure would leave the city with a vacant stadium, O’Connor said the city remains fully committed to making the argument that the team deserves to remain, and he is “not satisfied to think about the ‘what if’ on this.”

The Keys did not respond to a request for comment.

With its Professional Baseball Agreement expiring after the 2020 season, Major League Baseball is looking to improve its business relationship with minor league clubs.

Late last year, MLB announced it was looking at eliminating 42 clubs, including the Keys.

Minor League Baseball strongly opposed the proposal, as did O’Connor and other mayors from cities and towns whose teams would be contracted.

But recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic preventing the start of the season and casting uncertainty on if or when baseball will be played this year, the New York Times reported last week that Minor League Baseball has been increasingly open to MLB’s proposal.

Losing the Keys would be a financial hit for the city as well as losing a valuable community asset.

The ball club accounts for the bulk of the city’s admissions and amusement tax, which accounted for $376,614 in fiscal 2019, according to the city’s most recent budget.

A Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, the Keys drew the second-highest attendance of the franchise’s five minor league clubs in 2019, trailing only Triple-A Norfolk.

While he was reluctant to speculate on how things would work out and reiterated that there have been no discussions of contingencies, O’Connor said the city would have to look at its options if the Keys were to be retracted.

Opened in 1990, the stadium is one of the city’s 73 parks, and the terms under which it was donated to the city require that the property be used for youth-related activities, O’Connor said.

The city would have to assess what its parks and recreation needs are, and there would likely be interest in a request for proposals on the best uses for the site, he said.

Even if the Keys were to leave, college, minor league, amateur, Babe Ruth and other types of baseball would still exist, O’Connor said.

He said he hasn’t heard where things stand lately on the possible elimination of teams, adding that both mayors and Major League Baseball have “a lot of irons in the fire” in dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(21) comments

C.D.Reid

What the hell, why don't they book it out for concerts??? The original Jefferson Airplane played Mt. St. Mary's in '71, and I saw the original Steppenwolf there in 72 then Poco in '73. With it's close proximity to major interstate highways, and all the motel availability in the area, why the hell don't they book concerts at the ballpark???

Ystj

As much as I would hate to lose the Keys, MLB has way to many minor league teams. The Collective bargaining agreement needs to eliminate the clock for free agency. Just lets kids have 6 years period. Not 6 years in the majors.

gb4baseball

There shouldn't be any discussions because I truly believe the Keys will stay. It doesn't make any sense even from MLB's standpoint to take professional baseball out of Frederick given the great fan support for the team and the significant contributions the Keys make to the community.

eramey1971

I agree, allow the High Schools to use for Graduation, Class of 2020 deserves it after loosing everything else they've worked so hard for.

steelersfan2005

https://www.overtimeheroics.net/index.php/2020/04/24/mlb-to-cut-42-minor-league-franchises/

vodalone

By late summer reduced attendance at games should be permitted. Sit people who don't come in together 6 or 10 feet apart. It's outdoors, transmission is minimal.

steelersfan2005

people buy their tickets online....

vodalone

Those online seating programs can easily map out distances between chosen seats, it's not rocket science.

steelersfan2005

not really easy yet, when you have a group of 2 or a group of 5 that would sit together. They could remove the seating and do benches and do away with assigned seating.

DMSchobel

Maybe 10 years ago, the stadium also was used for concerts and other events. Not sure why that stopped.

Plus 1

Good point. My guess is that it was because of the cost to preserve the field and I'm sure there aren't enough restrooms to accommodate that many people. But it's a great idea to consider- Frederick is a great stopping off point between major cities that I would think would attract a lot of interest for touring bands to get in an extra gig.

joelp77440

Exactly, in the past it was used for activities outside of baseball (i.e., concerts). Not sure why it was stopped, could be behind-the-scenes things like field damage, scheduling, event fees etc., but the city should use it more for concerts and graduations etc., I lived in CT near the New Britain Rockcats and they used that stadium for just about everything. I know we have some other great venues like the fairgrounds and the creek that compete for events.

CheetoBenito

Monkey Rodeos 52 weekends a year!

mdcommuter

Would have been a wonderful venue for HS graduations.

Reader1954

if we lose the Keys, turn the space into a community garden area

mr_twist27

I hope you are joking.

steelersfan2005

use your own back yard.

bosco

Let the Plamondons$ built their hotel there.

C.D.Reid

Yeah ! [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Jaco

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

public-tertiary

Lots of sun and a watering system. Good idea.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!