Just days before the scheduled start of the 2003 season, the Southeastern League of Professional Baseball has assumed operations
of the Selma Cloverleafs and will move them out of town.
The decision came after the Cloverleafs ownership group chose not to provide the league a $100,000 letter of credit to guarantee they would be able to finish out the season.
The letter of credit would have allowed the league to access $100,000 in funds to run the team if the team folded before the end of the season. The request for the letter of credit came on the heels of a disappointing 2002 season. A pair of teams folded because of financial problems.
The loss of teams meant a loss of revenue for the league with scheduled games left unplayed.
To make up for the lost teams, the league expanded into new markets this season,
adding Macon, Ga. and Houma, La. to it’s roster.
The move allowed the league to stay at six teams.
Compared to the other towns, Selma’s population isn’t large enough to help the team meet the fiscal demands of the league, Terry said.
The league wanted the Cloverleafs’ ownership group to provide the $100,000 safety net to make sure they would finish out the season.
Despite the town’s size, Selma’s businesses and fans supported the team as much as they could, Wilson said.
For now, the Cloverleafs are homeless.
They will play this season as a road team, spending the better part of two months as the visiting squad.
With many players already under contract and spring training less than a week away, former Cloverleafs General Manager Steve Nichols said the move came quickly.
Terry, who will assume the general manager duties, said he’s spoken with most of the current Cloverleaf players.
Because of a scheduling conflict in Montgomery, the Cloverleafs may still play the opening series in Bloch Park, Memorial Day weekend.