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New Blasters' proposed lease agreement is based on attendance - KOAM TV 7

New Blasters' proposed lease agreement is based on attendance

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Joplin, MO -

Some Joplin city officials say the Blasters baseball team has back-tracked on an agreement made last month.  The agreement to restructure the Blasters' lease with the city came at the request of the team, which still owes the city $25,000.

Patti Kent, while getting a soda at a gas station, says she's had her fill of negotiations between the City of Joplin and the Blasters baseball team.

"If they want Joplin to be fair to them, they should be fair to Joplin," says Kent.

Last month, the city and the Blasters reached a preliminary agreement to restructure the team's lease for using Joe Becker Stadium.  The Blasters would pay $75,000 a year, due in two payments.  City Manager Sam Anselm says earlier this month came a surprise.

"There are some key terms that city council and the team had agreed on at the meeting on November 16th that were altered," says Anselm.

The Blasters now want their rent payments to be based on attendance.

"The Blasters keep wanting more and more, and we keep giving more and more.  One of these days, we're going to get to the point of deciding what is the value of this baseball team in Joplin," says Joplin Councilman Bill Scearce.

According to Anselm and Scearce, the Blasters have rejected signing a personal guarantee to stay in Joplin.

"I think that it should be based on attendance, but I think they should guarantee that they still stick around," says Kent.

City officials say, though, time is running out for a contract to be set in stone.  Scearce says it may be time to part ways with the Blasters, though no other baseball team has showed interest in using Joe Becker Stadium.

"If the contract is not acceptable to a majority of the council, then we should sever ties now and search for another tenant that would be more applicable to Joplin, that would provide a baseball program and a contract that we could live with," says Scearce.

Scearce hopes a newly revised Blasters contract is brought before city council next month.

One of the owners of the Blasters baseball team would not comment on the team's newest lease proposal.  City Manager Anselm hopes to have more details of this proposal delivered this week.

According to Anselm and Scearce, the Blasters have rejected signing a personal guarantee to stay in Joplin.  Additionally, Anselm says the Blasters' newest proposal involves basing rent off attendance, though the "formula" hasn't been released yet from the Blasters.  However, Mayor Mike Seibert says, "Lease will not be based on attendance - two councilmen want a personal guarantee - it was not in first contract and not part of a discussion in the new one..."

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