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Mayor calls baseball franchise 'speculative'

Date: 9/20/2010

Sept. 20, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- Mayor Domenic Sarno frequently references his past sports activities in high school and acknowledged that Jack Maloney, the chair of the Parks Commission, had tossed him a curve ball during the opening ceremonies of Pynchon Plaza, the long-closed park on Dwight Street.

In his remarks about the park and the city moving forward, Maloney revealed the city has been entertaining inquiries concerning a baseball franchise. Maloney said the Chicago White Sox were among those organizations expressing interest in the city.

Sarno was quick to say that discussion about the possibility of bringing professional baseball to the city was "very premature and speculative."

"I don't want to give anyone false hope," he added.

The city is no stranger to baseball. The Springfield Giants of the single "A" and double "A" Eastern league played here from 1957 to 1965.

The last time there was a serious discussion about a baseball team in the city was during the administration of Mayor Michael Albano. His tactics resulted in a decision rendered by Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney that sharply criticized his efforts.

Sarno said he would "proceed cautiously" and that any offer would have to be in writing.

He emphasized that professional baseball was not a top priority of his administration.

"There are more important things to deal with than inquiries about baseball," he explained.

He added no location for a possible team has been discussed.

When asked if the inquiries have been serious, he described them as "more than a fishing expedition."

He called the inquiries "a good sign" about how the city is perceived, though.

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