Triple-a Franchise Sale Paves Way For Phils Farm Team In Scranton

Posted: August 30, 1986

A deal that could lead to the Phillies' moving their triple-A operation

from Portland, Ore., to Scranton was announced yesterday when Jordan I. Kobritz, president of the Maine Guides, said that he had reached an agreement to sell his triple-A franchise to a group from Scranton.

The Guides, one of eight teams in the International League, are located in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians. But if the franchise is moved to Scranton, it reportedly would become part of the Phillies organization next season.

Phillies president Bill Giles was quoted on Thursday in the Oregonian, a Portland newspaper, as saying that "the odds are 90 percent certain" that the Phillies will switch their top farm club from Portland to Scranton. Giles, through a spokesman, declined further comment on the matter yesterday.

Phils manager John Felske, however, said that the expected change "will make it fun for those people (in Scranton) as they follow the players through the system and then up here. They'll be able to relate to them better."

Scranton is about 120 miles from Philadelphia; Portland is 3,000 miles away.

Kobritz said that the Guides sale must be completed by Sept. 15, the deadline for affiliation agreements between minor- and major-league clubs. An emergency meeting of the International League to consider the sale is scheduled for next week.

Meanwhile, Lackawanna County officials broke ground in Scranton for a 10,000-seat, $13.1 million multipurpose stadium on Thursday, amid persistent rumors that the facility would become the home of a triple-A franchise.

"The reports which said there is a possibility triple A will be here in 1987 are accurate," said John McGee, president of Northeastern Baseball Inc. ''However, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome to turn something from a possibility into an agreement into a reality."

The agreement that Kobritz has with Northeastern Baseball gives him an option to acquire the Waterbury (Conn.) franchise of the double-A Eastern League - a franchise now owned by the Scranton group and also affiliated with the Indians.

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