FAYETTEVILLE — While the World Series is in full swing, pro baseball in Fayetteville may be on the way out. City leaders in Albany, Georgia say their work to lure the Cape Fear Crocs is about to pay off.
According toMayor Tommy Coleman, league approval is the only thing needed to move the team to the Peach State.
Attendance was up at Cape Fear Crocs games this season, but the increase may not be enough to keep the team in Cumberland County.
"You're talking about more than a million dollar economic impact that would be shot right out the window if we lost a team like this," says Doug Traub of the Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Local economic leaders say losing the Crocs to Albany would be a major blow.
"In a place like Fayetteville, at a minimum, you're talking about losing overnight room and lodging on the part of different visiting teams that are here during the year," Traub said. "There's also fans that are traveling with the groups, and family members."
Crocs owners have said all along that they would be willing to move if a better deal came along. However, they are not saying much about the rumored destination of Georgia.
"Right now the only statement I have is that me and the staff that's here right now are our sales people, and we are out hitting the streets and we're selling baseball in Fayetteville 1999," Crocs General Manager Brad Taylor said. "We're ready to go, we know we're opening April 8th at home against thePiedmont Boll Weevils."
Economic leaders say if the Crocs do move, they will change their focus to finding a new team for Fayetteville.
Albany's mayor says he should know in the next two weeks if the Crocs are coming. He says it is possible that the move may not happen until the year 2000.