Moosic, Pa. - Mandalay Baseball Properties LLC is pleased to announce it has entered into a definitive agreement with SWB Investors LLC for the sale of its 50% interest in the SWB RailRiders franchise (Triple-A/New York Yankees). The principals of SWB Investors LLC include David Abrams, David Blitzer, Grant Cagle and Michael Hisler. The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approvals of the International League and Minor League Baseball and the review of the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. All local team management, including team president and general manager Rob Crain, will remain in place following the closing of the transaction.
Mandalay Baseball, through its partnership with the New York Yankees, has managed the franchise since the affiliation switch to the Yankees after the 2006 season and has owned half of the SWB franchise membership since October of 2012. Blitzer is a senior executive at Blackstone Group. Abrams is a senior advisor and former partner of Apollo Global Management. Both men are graduates of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Grant is the president/CEO of Cagle Land, Timber, and real estate management co., and a minority owner of the Mobile BayBears. The group plans to add ownership interests from Northeast Pennsylvania before the sale's formal closing. Those details will be available at a later time.
"In partnership with the New York Yankees, all of our efforts in SWB have been a true labor of love these past eight seasons," said Art Matin, CEO of Mandalay Baseball. "We're very thankful for the support of our fans and our corporate and civic partners and are thrilled to turn the reins over to David, David, Grant and Michael. We know they, along with the Yankees, will create a very strong ownership group and continue to take PNC Field and the SWB RailRiders to great heights."
"The Yankees remain fully committed to the RailRiders and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, as reflected in our continuing ownership of the RailRiders," said New York Yankees COO Lonn Trost. "The Yankees' relationship with Mandalay Baseball has been successful for the community as well as the Yankees' Triple-A franchise and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the community in conjunction with the new ownership group, with which we have great confidence. We are also pleased that the operations of the RailRiders will continue under the leadership of president and general manager Rob Crain."
"I am ecstatic to join the RailRiders family and share my passion for baseball and love for the New York Yankees with the fans in Northeast Pennsylvania," said Abrams. "We will support Rob and his talented team as they continue to positively impact the local community and exemplify what minor league baseball is all about. I am realizing a childhood dream and can't wait for the opening of the 2015 season."
"I could not be more thrilled to be a part of the RailRiders organization and its partnership with the New York Yankees," said Blitzer. "What Rob and his staff have built carries clout throughout the industry. I look forward to working with him, his front office team and our outstanding partners in the Bronx as we continue to deliver a high-quality fan experience to the good folks of Northeast Pennsylvania."
"As a longtime Yankees fan, combining my love for baseball and pinstripes is a dream come true," said Cagle. "Between my previous experience in minor league baseball and the outstanding status the RailRiders hold in Northeast Pennsylvania, I'm elated to be a part of this franchise for many years to come."
"We love sending our players to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre," said New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. "We look forward to continuing that strong relationship with the new ownership group. We also love developing the future stars of the New York Yankees at the state-of-the-art PNC Field."
"After a brief conversation with this potential ownership team, I was impressed with their steadfast commitment to Triple-A baseball in Lackawanna County and their passion for continuing to deliver an unmatched, family-friendly fan experience," said Lackawanna County commissioner Corey O'Brien.
"We welcome the opportunity to work with the new ownership group, as they have expressed an interest in our area and the desire to be part of our community," said Lackawanna County commissioner Jim Wansacz. "They understand the importance of baseball as it relates to family-fun entertainment and have come to the same conclusion as we have, that this is a great area with lots of promise."
All terms of the agreement are confidential.
The RailRiders open their 2015 season at home on April 9 against the Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals). For more information please call (570) 969-BALL (2255) or visit swbrailriders.com.
- SWB RailRiders - All Aboard! -
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.