Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Longtime Owner of Suns May Sell Team; Bragan, Who Purchased Minor League Team in 1984, Has Potential Buyer

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Longtime Owner of Suns May Sell Team; Bragan, Who Purchased Minor League Team in 1984, Has Potential Buyer

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette

Jacksonville Suns president Peter Bragan Jr., whose family has owned the Double-A baseball franchise for 30 years, is in negotiations to sell the club to another minor-league baseball executive after rejecting an offer from a potential local buyer, sources told the Times-Union.

Ken Babby, who has owned the Akron RubberDucks in the Double-A Eastern League since October, 2012, is in the process of trying to purchase the Suns, said two sources familiar with the negotiations, who requested anonymity. Babby declined to comment on any possible sale or negotiation, though he did not deny his involvement.

"I'm not at liberty to discuss anything," Babby told the Times-Union.

Bragan, who took over as the club's primary owner after his father, Peter Bragan Sr., passed away in 2012, has declined to publicly discuss the matter. Bragan, who is recovering from foot surgery, declined Monday through a Suns spokesman to return messages.

If Babby buys the Suns, there's no indication of any intent to move the team, which has operated in Jacksonville as a Triple-A or Double-A franchise since 1962, except for a one-year hiatus in 1969. Bragan is still expected to run the team for the 2015 season even if the sale is completed.

A timetable for when the sale might go through is unknown because the parties are still negotiating terms, the sources said, and there is no guarantee the deal will be finalized. Babby, who grew up in Bethesda, Md., and is a former spring training bat boy for the Baltimore Orioles, declined to discuss when a sale might be consummated.

If Babby, 35, winds up purchasing the Suns, he will be in the unusual position of owning two Double-A franchises. He moved to Akron after a 13-year career at the Washington Post, where he held several different positions, the last as general manager of its digital operations. Since purchasing the RubberDucks, Babby has invested over $5 million for improvements at Canal Park, which was built in 1997. The RubberDucks' home has a similar brick faade and mini-Camden Yards feel to it as the Suns' facility at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. …

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