SOLD! The Iowa Cubs Triple-A baseball team will have a new ownership group.12/8/2021
The Iowa Cubs have announced that the team has entered into an agreement to sell the Triple-A baseball team to Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH). DBH is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a newly formed group that is a “global sports and entertainment company.”
In his letter to fans, the team’s current owner, Michael Gartner, lays out the reasons for the sale and what to look for next.
“Twenty-two years ago, my partners and I bought the Iowa Cubs,” he writes. “Our goals were to keep Triple-A baseball in Des Moines and to have fun. We did both.”
The letter states that DBH is “a new enterprise owned by Endeavor, a world-wide business heavily invested in pro sports.” DBH recently announced that it is buying nine minor league baseball teams, including the I-Cubs.
Gartner lists three reasons for selling the team. The first reason listed is his age.
“I am 83 years old,” he states flatly.
Next, Gartner lumps together Major League Baseball’s new involvement with the minor leagues, realignments, rule changes, and capital improvement requirements that “will make it more precarious to operate as a family-owned team.”
Last, “the buyer very much wants to keep Sam Bernabe as the president and general manager of the team, and he has agreed to stay for at least three years. That’s a good thing. I doubt you’ll notice any change in the operations when you come next season,” Gartner writes.
The I-Cubs ownership group, led by Gartner, bought the team in 1999 from Ken Grandquist. It includes “lawyer Mike Giudicessi, my friend and son Mike C. Gartner, my friend and neighbor Doug Dorner, and my friend and colleague Sam Bernabe,” writes Gartner.
Keeping Principal Park affordable, safe and fun have been a priority, according to the letter. Gartner points to a multitude of upgrades that have been made during his tenure.
“We have done everything possible to ensure that this stadium — the oldest in Triple-A baseball — remains the very best,” he writes.
Improvements listed in the letter include the installation of energy-saving Musco LED lights, new videoboards, a new sound system, a manual scoreboard, new seats, new fountains and public art. In addition, “three times we have rebuilt the field,” states Gartner, “and players tell us it is better than many Major League fields. We enhanced and enlarged the locker rooms and added an indoor hitting cage. We added a video system that is, in effect, a TV station. And much more.”
Gartner went on to thank city leaders, the Chicago Cubs, advertisers, employees and fans.
“We employ 25 to 30 men and women full-time (and over 300 on game days), and many of them have been with us for 20 years or more,” he writes. “They love baseball, they love Des Moines, and they love Principal Park. They are fantastic, and we thank them, and thank them, and thank them.”
Last, but not least, Gartner thanked the fans, too.
“We couldn’t have done any of this without you, the greatest baseball fans in the country. All of us have loved seeing you at the games, talking with you, listening to you and celebrating — or, at times, suffering — with you. You are the best. We thank you.”
To read Gartner’s letter or the full press release by the Iowa Cubs, visit: www.milb.com/iowa/news/iowa-cubs-join-dbh.
A press release on Endeavor’s website lists the nine planned acquisitions:
The initial Clubs are:
· Iowa Cubs (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs)
· Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals)
· Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders (Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees)
· Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A affiliate of the New York Yankees)
· San Jose Giants (Single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants)
Subject to the PDL approval process, DBH will also operate all four affiliates of the 2021 World Champion Atlanta Braves:
· Gwinnett Stripers (Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves)
· Mississippi Braves (Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves)
· Rome Braves (High-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves)
· Augusta GreenJackets (Single-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves)
Endeavor is also in late stage negotiations with a handful of other significant franchises and expects to announce those developments in due course.