Diamond Baseball Holdings to buy St. Paul Saints

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The St. Paul Saints will soon have new owners.

On Wednesday morning, the team announced Diamond Baseball Holdings is in the process of purchasing the team from the Goldklang Group, which has owned the team since 1992 and includes Marv Goldklang, Mike Veeck and Bill Murray.

A team spokesperson said Derek Sharrer, the executive vice president and general manager who has led the organization for 20 years, will continue to do so this season.

Sharrer told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS “it’s the right time and the right people” for the sale to happen, and the franchise will continue to operate for its community.

“The best thing that I think we as an organization can say about St. Paul and our fanbase is, they get it. The Saints are built on the fans, by the fans, for the fans, and I can promise that’s not going to change,” Sharrer said.

Although the league still needs to sign off on the purchase and closing conditions need to be met, the purchase is expected to be “completed promptly,” according to the Saints.

Fans have shared mixed feelings about the business deal.

“I always liked that Bill Murray was on the team. It was always something special for us, having a celebrity own something here. But it shouldn’t affect us too much,” Brett Arnold said.

Another fan said he “can’t put a dollar amount” on having the Saints stay in his neighborhood, even after changing hands.

“It’s a big draw to the area. When I tell people I live in Lowertown, they immediately think of the St. Paul Saints and ask if I go to the games. Happy to see them stay? Yes, absolutely,” Nathan Boyea said.

The new owners are expected to take over this season.

“(The Goldklang Group owners) trust the people they’re handing the baton to. They trust the fact that the current staff is going to continue to stay in place to carry on their legacy,” Sharrer said.

Mike Veeck, the team’s co-owner, and Marv Goldklang, CEO and chairman of the organization, issued the following statements in a news release Wednesday:

“These last three decades have been one of the most magical and rewarding rides of my baseball life. From day one, the fans opened up their arms to this organization and made us strive for new heights each season. I’m so grateful to the St. Paul community because they proved that if you listen to them, then they will come out and support you. We’ve made so many friends in the area and leave the Saints in incredible hands. I’ve always said, ‘You hire the best people and get out of their way.’ For my wife Libby and I, it’s now our time to step away.”

Mike Veeck, Co-owner of the St. Paul Saints

“When Mike, Bill, Van Schley, and I arrived in St. Paul more than 30 years ago, we came with a vision both to bring back a legendary baseball franchise with a history spanning more than 100 years, and to re-imagine the connection between the game of baseball and a community. While I believe we have remained true to that vision during our stewardship of the Saints, there are opportunities yet to be realized. The decision to sell was a difficult and emotional one for me and it would not have been made were it not to an organization headed by people who ‘get it’ and are committed both to further expansion of the team’s brand and additional ways in which our ballpark can be utilized for the benefit of the community. Our own organization knows how deeply I will miss my active involvement with the Saints, but I am confident that in the future we’ll be able to look back with additional pride at what the Saints have become.”

Marv Goldklang, Saints Chairman/CEO

The Minnesota Twins, who added the Saints as the organization’s Triple-A affiliate starting last season, also sounded off on the purchase.

“The Pohlad family and Minnesota Twins organization would like to thank Marv Goldklang, Mike Veeck and Bill Murray for their incredible vision and leadership in building the St. Paul Saints franchise and brand. The Twins-Saints player development partnership is a special part of their legacy and something that is certain to benefit Upper Midwest baseball fans for years to come. Going forward, the Twins look forward to working with Peter Freund and Diamond Baseball Holdings. DBH enjoys a splendid reputation across Minor League Baseball and the Twins are excited to be their partner here in the Twin Cities,” Dave St. Peter, president and CEO of the Minnesota Twins, said in a prepared statement.

Diamond Baseball Holdings owns more than a dozen other Minor League affiliates across the United States.

A spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the terms of the agreement haven’t been disclosed.