Frederick will be home to a new baseball team in the spring of 2023 to play alongside the Frederick Keys, according to the Atlantic Professional Baseball Association, which announced the new franchise on Wednesday.
The new team, whose name has not been announced, will be owned by Attain Sports and Entertainment, the same group that also owns the Keys, a collegiate summer baseball team in the MLB Draft League.
Atten also owns the Bowie Baysox, the Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
The Atlantic League is playing 126 games, which are scheduled to start on April 28.
The league includes nine other teams, with franchises in Central Islip and Staten Island, New York; Lancaster and York, Pennsylvania; Waldorf. Charleston, West Virginia; Gastonia and High Point, NC; and Lexington, Kentucky.
Team Frederick will be the tenth.
Hagerstown’s 11th franchise approved. Work is underway on a new stadium where the team will play starting in the 2024 season.
Perhaps the league should find a 12th member, said Steve Schatt, the league’s director of communications—an even number makes scheduling easier. “We have plenty of time to work that out,” he said.
Frederick’s new team will play 48 home games, sharing Nymeo Field at Harry Grove with the Keys. Each of the other nine teams will play at least 63 home matches.
After starting with a series on the road in Gastonia, Frederick’s new club is set to make its home debut on May 2 against the Lexington Legends.
The first half of the season will end on July 7. The second half of the season will end on September 17th.
The Atlantic League is known as a landing place for former captains as they try to re-establish their careers. Sometimes, it works out and they go back to the big leagues.
One recent example of this, Schott said, was pitcher David Robertson, who was injured in his 12th major league season. Robertson suffered an arm injury in 2019 and had to have reconstructive surgery that forced him to miss the following season.
While he was on his way to getting back in shape, and getting ready to play for the US Olympic Team, in 2021 Robertson signed with the High Point Rockers of the Atlantic League. He ended up running back on the Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year.
The community has always supported baseball, said Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor, and the addition of the new team will provide a full summer of entertainment.
Attain Sports and Entertainment, owned by CEO and Managing Partner Greg Barone and President and General Partner Richard Roberts, purchased Keys in January.
The Keys were an Orioles Single-A affiliate until 2020, when they lost their 31-year affiliation amid shuffling and downsizing of teams by Major League Baseball and its clubs.
Keys had previously indicated that renovations and improvements to the city-owned Nymeo Field at Harry Grove would be important to obtaining another affiliation. The team and city agreed in January to split the cost of the $100,000 new scoreboard on the field.
O’Connor said the city’s goal remains to return a team affiliated with Frederick.
He said the city knows that will require an upgrade to the stadium, and is working with Atene to see what that looks like.
Having more games in the stadium helps with ticket sales, but also things like concessions and merchandise sales, said Richard Griffin, the city’s director of economic development.
People coming in from out of town for the games might stop and eat dinner, fill up their gas tanks, or shop on the way in or out of town, he said.
Harry Grove Stadium has served the community well, Griffin said, but the uses and operation of the stadiums have changed since the facility opened nearly 40 years ago.
The stadiums host conventions, concerts, meetings and other events other than baseball use, and the city wants to maximize use of the facility for the benefit of the community, he said.
In a press release on Wednesday announcing the new team, Baroni said it would be exciting to have two teams play at Harry Grove.
“As we look to the future, we continue to work to provide all of our primary stakeholders with a new and improved playground,” the statement read.
Editor Andrew Schutz contributed to this story.
Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP