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Elizabethton City Council awards Twins contract to Boyd Sports Management

John Thompson • Updated Feb 15, 2019 at 11:09 AM

ELIZABETHTON — By a unanimous vote on Thursday night, the Elizabethton City Council approved a contract with Boyd Sports Management to manage the Elizabethton Twins next season.

Boyd Sports also manages the Johnson City Cardinals and the Greeneville Reds in the Appalachian League and the AA Tennessee Smokies in Kodak.

It was an emotional moment for many in the Elizabethan city government because the Parks and Recreation Department has managed the highly successful team for decades. One of the most emotional was Councilman Richard Barker, whose first work experience in high school was working to prepare the way for the Elizabethton Twins to start a rookie league team in 1974.

Barker’s grandfather, Joe O’Brien, led he successful effort to get the Minnesota Twins to put their rookie league team in Elizabethton. Barker said his grandfather also kept his teenage grandson up to date on how well he was doing in enticing the Twins to Elizabethton. Once it was certain the team was coming, Barker was put to work, building a baseball field and stadium for the new team.

Barker put his experience to work in comments he made to Chris Allen, president of Boyd Sports. Barker said the river bottom land is sandy and loamy and he recommended to Allen that there was no need to install artificial turf because the soil drained so will. Allen told Barker that Boyd Sports would like to avoid the expense of artificial turf if that was feasible.

Barker said it was also time to start thinking of fan amenities, especially in regards to improving the stadium. The current set of improvements are to the clubhouses rather than the parts of the stadium the fans use.

To start making improvements to the stadium, Barker introduced and succeeded in getting passed a motion to reinstate a task force of local baseball fans dedicated to improving the quality of the baseball experience in Elizabethton. This group will work toward stadium improvements, among other projects.

For some fans, the next best thing to a good baseball game is a good hot dog and a cold beer. The council helped with that fan amenity by approving beer sales in designated sections of the stadium. Allen agreed on the importance of beer sales at the stadium.

“For some fans, a good hot dog and a cold beer are critical,” Allen said.

While the staff of Boyd Sports was being welcomed to Elizabethton, there were also sustained praise and applause for the job that Elizbethton Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains and Maintenance Supervisor David McQueen have done with the Twins over the last several decades. McQueen also received thanks from council members over the recent completion of the visiting team clubhouse renovations.

“My men did a good job,” McQueen said.

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