Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baseball, Soccer Find Common Grounds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baseball, Soccer Find Common Grounds

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

The first year of new ownership for the Jacksonville Suns comes amid the second year of an agreement to share the field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville with the city's professional soccer team, and the partnership is growing tighter.

When the Jacksonville Armada started competition last year, an agreement was cobbled together for the North American Soccer League franchise to share the field with the Suns. Adding new Suns ownership under Ken Babby, who bought the team from longtime owner Peter Bragan Jr., could have led to some dicey circumstances if the two management teams didn't see eye to eye.

But Suns General Manager Harold Craw said at the conclusion of the Suns' season Monday that the baseball franchise was prepared to deal with the dual purposes of the field when new management took over.

"We know it's not ideal to play on the same field, but we understand that we have to work together in order to be successful," Craw said.

The sharing of the field with a soccer team is an additional responsibility for the baseball franchise, Craw said. But he said the merging of the two interests was seamless and resulted in no conflicts this year.

"None," Craw said at his office at the stadium. "We have a great working relationship. We share ideas back and forth.

"In early June we actually did an Armada Night [at a Suns game] where we gave away soccer balls that looked like baseballs," Craw said. "It was a tribute to them working with us and being gracious with us as well. We have a lot of banter, and it's a good working relationship."

Eric Scott, spokesman for the Armada, said management between the soccer and baseball franchises quickly meshed as competition and field modifications for the different sports moved into gear this year.

"The Suns have been a fantastic organization to work with, particularly with the new management," Scott said. …

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