(Mahoning Valley, OH) Rubberducks onwer, Don Adkins, unexpectedly announced some major changes to the Akron franchise. One major change was the unexpected resignation of General Manager Jason Gilmartin. Adkins stated the resignation was due to personal reasons and asked that the privacy of all involved to please be respected.
Adkins also reported that he had sold a 49% interest in the organization to a Midwestern consortium. The new infusion of cash will allow the team to move to updated facilities at every level. The stadium in Akron needed significant upgrades to make it comparable to other locations around the league and it was felt it was more cost-effective to relocate the team. The organization felt it was also in their best interest to sign new deals for the minor league teams as well. All of the leases were up for renewal and the management staff felt that new locations might improve the support and focus of the teams. The new CBL team will be with Mahoning Valley Scrappers in Ohio, with the AAA affiliate moving to Tennessee as the Chattanooga Lookouts. The AA team will now be in Asheville, North Carolina as the Tourists with the A team moving to North Carolina as well as the Durham Bulls. The Rookie team will relocate to Arkansas and become the Travelers.
The last big announcement was the hiring of Jesse Stollings as the new GM of the Scrappers. Stollings became known in the CBL as the original GM of the Charlotte Knights, but had to leave after their second season due to health reasons. Stollings said he is excited to be able to get back in the league and cant wait to get started. When asked about comparing his new team to the Knights, Stollings stated, “The Knights are a fantastic organization and it is wonderful to see how Ace has been able to take them higher and I expect to continue to see him build on that success, but this is a different team, I dont want to recreate the Knights, I want to build the Scrappers into a team that writes its own story.”
The Scrappers own the second pick in the upcoming draft and have some issues with the minor league teams but it will be interesting to see how Stollings approaches this rebuilding project.