Friday, July 17, 2009
NKOtB (kindof): Oklahoma City Fire Hawks
What happened? Five years of the Fire Hawks in Sante Fe have yet to produce a team that's lost fewer than 102 games. With attendance declining each year, team owner reigny sought lease concessions and a stadium upgrade from the city. When Sante Fe Mayor David Cross laughed reigny out of city hall, he appealed to a higher authority, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson met with reigny, the result was similarly comical. Richardson, a huge Arizona Isotopes of Albuquerque fan it seems, was unaware that there was a franchise in Sante Fe. He was floored that there was a 2nd franchise in the state and immediately refused reigny. When later informed that the Isotopes had left the state years ago, Richardson was heartbroken. He's now formally stated an interest in bringing another franchise back to New Mexico. Also, he'd like to not be elected president again.
Upon returning to the team offices, reigny was notified that the city had formally filed papers to alter the team's lease as was allowed under the contract. Apparently, the falling attendance had also led to a decrease in the number of part-time workers at the stadium. When the number dropped below a lease covenant with the city, Sante Fe was able to unilaterally force the team to triple it's rent payment.
reigny quickly canceled the team's lease and looked for other accommodations.
The Fallout: Oklahoma City, still stinging from the one-and-done season the Salt Lake City Salty Sardines had in season 10, hastily offered a new lease. The Fire Hawks decided to keep the team name intact as vast stores of Fire Hawk merchandise remain unsold. But at least the state of Oklahoma now has a "major league" franchise.