ONEONTA — The Outlaws finally belong to Oneonta.
Local businessman Gary Laing announced Sunday night to The Daily Star that he has purchased the brand of the summer college baseball team that has played at Damaschke Field the last three seasons and will operate a franchise under a non-profit organization known as the Oneonta Outlaws Baseball Club, Inc.
“We’re looking forward to many, many years of great baseball and family fun at Damaschke Field,” said Oneonta native Laing, a 1975 Oneonta High graduate who owns The Shipping Room on Chestnut Street.
Laing, 55, said the 2013 Oneonta Outlaws will be a new franchise that will compete in the New York Collegiate Baseball League this summer, adding that he bought the Outlaws’ brand and not the actual franchise that played in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League under co-owners Keith Rogers and Dan Scaring last season.
Rogers and Scaring turned the Saratoga Phillies into the Oneonta Outlaws in February of 2010, moving into Damaschke Field months after the Oneonta Tigers left to play Single-A New York-Penn League baseball in Norwich, Conn.
The Outlaws played their first two seasons in the NYCBL, winning the championship in 2011, before switching to the PGCBL last season. Laing said his franchise will move back to the NYCBL to cut travel costs.
Rogers and Scaring still own the franchise that went 25-22 in the PGCBL last season, Laing said. The PGCBL announced via email Tuesday that Rogers and Scaring requested a voluntary suspension of their franchise while they look to relocate to the Saratoga area.
“The ownership has been looking to sell the teams (sic) for almost a year,” PGCBL President Jeff Kunion states in the release. “They wanted to sell the team name and other assets, but not their PGCBL franchise.”
Laing said the deal to purchase the Outlaws’ brand was finalized Thursday, almost three months after confirming his plans to buy the franchise from Rogers and Scaring. Laing told The Daily Star of his intentions Sept. 18, less than an hour after the Oneonta Common Council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Dick Miller to change the owner’s name on the Outlaws’ contract with the city to rent Damaschke Field.