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Royals, Honkers make deal

Amateur baseball tournament will be in Rochester

By Troy Young

tyoung@postbulletin.com

The Rochester Honkers have come to terms with the Rochester Royals in an agreement that would allow the Royals complete concession rights to the state amateur baseball tournament at Mayo and Hudson fields in 2006.

On Feb. 4, the Royals offered the Honkers a $10,000 buyout for concession rights at Mayo Field. "It's so important to us that we were willing to offer them everything we have, and it's taken us eight years to save what we have," said Royals player/manager Jeff Milene.

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On Friday, after rounds of proposals, the Honkers delivered a letter to both the Royals and the city giving the Royals the concession rights for the tournament.

"This tournament is great for Rochester, great for the city and great for the business community as a whole," Honkers co-owner Dan Litzinger said. "What is good for Rochester is good for all of us. We believe in that."

The Honkers accepted a $10,000 letter of credit from the Royals, but agreed to return the money if they come to terms with the city on various contractual issues by June 1, the start of the Northwoods League season.

"We have made an agreement that says if we can come to an agreement with the city, we're going to give up the $10,000," Honkers co-owner Kim Archer said.

What sparked the concession-rights fight was the revelation that the two teams were operating under different versions of lease agreements at Mayo Field.

In 2001, when they made their pitch to the Minnesota Baseball Association to host the '06 tournament, the Mayo Field lease gave the Royals concession rights. But a lease written in 2002, when Litzinger and Archer purchased the Honkers, gave the Honkers concession rights for all state tournaments except those sponsored by the VFW or American Legion.

Recent state amateur baseball tournament hosts have said concession profits reach $30,000 per field. The Royals have repeatedly said they need concession rights of both fields in order to host the state tournament.

"I'm glad they reached an agreement and hopefully we can move on now," said Mayor Ardell Brede, who assisted in some negotiations.

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"We're going to have a first-class tournament," Milene said.

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