By CALVIN PYNN
This Pulaski Mariners season will be the last for the forces behind Pulaski Baseball Inc., as the organization’s owners announced their retirement earlier this week.
The Motor Mile Speedway and Dragway acquired rights to the affiliation, and will take over the operation from Pulaski Baseball Inc.’s three owners. President Tom Compton, Vice President Rick Mansell, and Secretary/Treasurer Wayne Carpenter will step down after leading the organization for the past 25 years.
“We have been committed to providing affordable, family friendly entertainment to the local community at a wonderful baseball facility that has its own history,” Carpenter said in a news release Tuesday. “So now, we are going to be a part of that history.”
Although changes are on the horizon for the organization, Carpenter said there will be no change in operation for the Pulaski Mariners this season. However, there will be more than just a change in ownership, as Pulaski Baseball Inc.’s affiliation with the Seattle Mariners and their lease with Calfee Park are both set to expire once the season ends.
Carpenter said once that time comes, the new operators will renegotiate those agreements with the Major League Club and the Town of Pulaski.
“Basically, we’ll go away and they’ll step in our position,” Carpenter said. “If both sides want to come back, it’s easy. We sign papers, and then everything’s done.”
Pulaski County Baseball’s agreement with the Seattle Mariners through the Appalachian League expires every two years. As Pulaski’s team has played under names such as the Braves and Blue Jays in the past, it’s possible that the agreement could change by the end of the current season, Carpenter said.
This will be the seventh season the Pulaski team has played as the Mariners.
In the meantime, the organization’s longtime owners plan on easing the new operators into their new position with the Pulaski Mariners this season. According to Carpenter, the Motor Mile is a good fit, as their marketing and promotional experience is on par with that of the baseball team.
“It’s a matter of having a relationship with somebody who’s interested in having their name associated with the program,” Carpenter said. “Be it racing cars, or playing baseball, you’ll still have the marketing aspect of the group.”
“When you look at the big picture of both organizations, we do the same kinds of things, so that kind of experience translates easily from one sports type to another,” he added.
While the people behind the Motor Mile have similar marketing experience, Carpenter and the other two owners plan on getting the new operators involved with the general manager to learn about the aspects that keep the organization running during the season. Overall, they hope to give them some hands on experience before the time comes to renegotiate their agreements.
For right now, the owners are gearing up for the beginning of the end of their 25-year run as Pulaski’s baseball season begins next Thursday.
“We’re focused on getting a new season underway,” Carpenter said. “As defending champions, we’re looking forward to it.”
The Pulaski Mariners are scheduled to play against the Burlington Royals in the season opener at Calfee Park next Thursday, June 19 at 7 p.m.