The Syracuse Chiefs baseball team will undergo some of the biggest leadership changes in years. After more than two hours of debate the Chiefs' board of directors voted to restructure under new leadership, a move that effectively ousts the Simone family, which has managed the team for the last four decades.
Current General Manager John Simone remains the General Manager until a new board is in place. That new board will hire a new General Manager. Simone has been the General Manager of The Chiefs for the past 17 years. Tex Simone, who recently stepped down as the Chiefs' executive vice president but has remained a steady fixture at NBT Bank Stadium, was general manager from 1970 to 1996.
The current Chiefs board considered several offers of money from groups willing to keep the team alive, however at least one of them would not commit to keeping The Chiefs in Syracuse. "It's just time for a new day in this town," said Bill Dutch, the current board President, who thanked the Simone family for saving baseball in the city of Syracuse.
The Chiefs have struggled with attendance and financial losses for years. After the 2013 season drew the lowest number of fans in 17 years.
"Baseball is broken here. It's wrong to go back in retorspect and point a finger at somebody," said Dutch of the Simones. "We just know that we can make it better and that as a board is our responsibility."
Dutch also said this decision came with no pressure from The Washington Nationals, which is the major league affiliate of The Chiefs.
The Chiefs lost more than half a million dollars this year, their worst losses in 40 years, and the team owes Onondaga County at least $64,000 in what amounts to rent.