Thursday, October 30, 2008

N.Y. group may buy Sounds

By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • October 30, 2008 A group of New York businessmen is in talks to buy the Nashville Sounds, two sources familiar with the situation said Wednesday. An announcement is expected this afternoon. But the sources cautioned that an agreement between the New York group and Sounds owner Al Gordon would be subject to due diligence by the prospective buyers and to approval by the Sounds' parent club, the Milwaukee Brewers, as well as the Pacific Coast League. The sources, who refused to be identified, said the New York group consists of Masahiro Honzawa, Frank Ward and Steve Posner. Honzawa runs Hiro North American Properties, a real estate company that owns four New York office buildings. A woman who answered the phone at Hiro on Wednesday said: "It's in the news already?" A sale would end the stormy relationship between Gordon, who is based in Chicago, and Metro officials. The city made the Sounds a deal in 2006 for a new minor-league stadium on riverfront land, only to see it fall apart 18 months ago after the AAA team missed two financing deadlines. More recently, the Sounds and Mayor Karl Dean's administration have failed to see eye to eye on an extension of the franchise's lease at Greer Stadium, which expires Dec. 31. The Sounds have asked for a short-term lease, while the city has demanded a longer commitment to Nashville and upgrades to the 30-year-old ballpark. The prospective buyers have not met with city officials, the sources said. Metro Councilman Rip Ryman said he knew nothing about the current talks. But he said he hoped a sale would go through and the city could turn the page on the Gordon years. "There are probably a lot of wounds there that won't get healed anytime soon," Ryman said. UPDATE: Pacific Coast League expects Sounds to stay in NashvilleThe Pacific Coast League expects the Nashville Sounds to stay in Music City no matter who owns them, a senior league official said today. George King, the league's vice president for business and operations, called Nashville a viable market for minor league baseball. "It's the PCL's intention to have baseball in Nashville," King said. "It's a PCL market, and one we hold in high regard. ... We love Nashville." A group of New York businessmen is looking to buy the Sounds from Al Gordon, who is based in Chicago, two sources familiar with the situation said Wednesday. King said the Pacific Coast League would "take a serious look" at any purchase application submitted by the group, and plans to remain in Nashville would be one of the top criteria for approval. Contact Michael Cass at 259-8838 or

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