The Brainerd Mighty Gulls of the Northwoods League are headed down the path of their predecessors, the Brainerd Bears and Bobcats.
Northwoods League president Dick Radatz Jr. said Thursday the Mighty Gulls will not play in 2003.
Radatz said Pure Baseball Inc., the company owned by Mighty Gulls owner Perry Platisha that operates the team, was in default of the league's bylaws and affiliation agreement. Radatz said Platisha was issued a notice of termination Nov. 13 and had 30 days to rectify the situation.
Platisha said the default occurred when he did not submit a letter of credit required by the league because he has decided to pursue a different career. A letter of credit provides the league with an assurance that if a team fails, the league can collect $150,000 from that team's bank.
Late Wednesday, Platisha informed The Dispatch he has been offered, and may accept, a position in pro sports administration with an out-of-state organization that operates 14 pro baseball and hockey teams. He would work in corporate finance and with individual team operations.
"We were given the opportunity to renew our affiliation, but because of (another career opportunity) I chose not to," Platisha said. "It didn't make sense to come up with an additional $150,000 to continue on."
Radatz also claimed the Mighty Gulls had a number of creditors, a claim Platisha refuted.
"As far as creditors, that's simply not the case," Platisha said. "We have paid everyone in town. I've taken care of that. My goal was to make it clean here so someone else coming in would have no baggage to deal with.
"We said we would voluntarily give the affiliation (with the league) back, rather than going though a situation to delay it, so there would be time to get new ownership in here or time for us to sell the team. That's when Thunder Bay (Ont.) came forward."
Thunder Bay will enter the league as an expansion franchise next season, along with Duluth and La Crosse, Wis. The league will have 10 teams in 2003 -- it had eight last season. Platisha said the league wants 10 teams in order to play a balanced schedule.
"It was an issue of me not being able to be here, and them desiring, No. 1, to have local ownership, and No. 2, not having an unbalanced league," Platisha said. "It's important to them to play every day, play a certain number of games and not have one team off every day.
"Other leagues were competing for the Thunder Bay site. The league signed a lease up there so Thunder Bay wouldn't have to wait a year. That's the bottom line."
The players and coaching staff that had been recruited for Brainerd in 2003 will be reassigned to Duluth.
Platisha is disheartened no team will play in Brainerd next summer, and possibly beyond.
"I don't know how hard it's going to be to get a team going here after they've been gone a year," he said.
"We just signed a five-year lease with the city," Platisha added. "The league needs to pay that if the Mighty Gulls are not here, to retain the opportunity to come back."
Brainerd city administrator Dan Vogt confirmed Thursday the league signed a five-year lease extension this fall with the city.
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