Watertown Wizards Up For Sale

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By Diane Rutherford

Citing problems with the city's leadership, the owner of the Watertown Wizards has decided to sell the summer collegiate baseball team.

"Point blank, it's not fun anymore. So we are putting the Wizards up for sale," said Paul Simmons, who has owned the Wizards for the last 10 years.

The team came to Watertown 11 years ago.

During this past season, the city and Simmons have locked horns over beer sales.

In the past, the Wizards have controlled all beer sales at the fairgrounds during the summer.

That includes baseball games, and the popular summer concerts sponsored by the Disabled Persons Action Organization.

Under the new agreement, that's changing.

Now the individual event holders will be in charge of their own beer sales.

"We've gotten to the point trying to deal with this city and you're dealing with the city council and the city manager now that thinks that they should take over concessions, they should take over all the operations," said Simmons.

Simmons said there are two groups of investors looking at possibly buying the Wizards - one is local, the other is from Albany.

If the group from the Albany area does buy the team, Simmons said the team would more than likely be relocated.

He said if there's no buyer, the team will be disbanded.

"My family has been treated poorly over the year. Things have been said about us. Things have been said about the organization from the leaders of this community. Unfortunately, we have a very, very poor leadership," said Simmons.

Simmons said he planned to make the official announcement about the Wizards at Tuesday evening's game.

Tomorrow is the last home game of the season - and possibly the last ever.

7 News reached out to Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham for his reaction to this story, but he had not yet returned our call as of Tuesday evening.

Watertown City Councilman Jeff Smith, who's running for mayor, said it would be unfortunate if Watertown lost summer baseball.

He said he can't blame Simmons for his frustration with the city considering the issues Simmons had with another venture, bringing the hard rock band Godsmack to Watertown.

Simmons, one of the promoters for the concert, said he waited as long as he could for city hall to make a decision about allowing the performance; he signed a deal with the Can Am Speedway in Lafargeville.

(See that report)


 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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