Bobby Brett, who has a knack of turning struggling sports franchises into gold mines, wants to step up to the big leagues.
The owner of the Spokane Chiefs hockey team and Indians baseball team confirmed Thursday that his partnership group again has its eye on the Kansas City Royals. The American League baseball club, controlled by executors of a charitable trust, will examine proposals from prospective buyers in October, at the conclusion of the season, Brett said.
Brett and his brothers John, Ken and George, and Brett’s high school coach Cliff Warren, are involved in the partnership that would include others with financial muscle.
“We’d take on other partners in this one,” Brett said. “You’re writing checks with two commas instead of one.”
The group has already “stepped up the pace of preparations” prior to submitting a bid, Brett added.
Hall of Famer George Brett is a Kansas City fan favorite. Should the Brett brothers and others land the Royals - and Brett plays down the chances of it happening - they may sell some of their considerable minor-league holdings.
The Spokane Indians, a short-season Class A farm club of the Royals, probably would be retained.
The Bretts also own High Desert of the Class A California League and Sioux City of the independent Northern League, as well as the Chiefs hockey club.
“In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to get rid of any of my other holdings,” Brett said. “And maybe we won’t have to. Nothing is set yet.
“But you always wonder if you could do this at the next level. The work and the challenge and the fun of ownership at the major league level appeals to a family (the Bretts) who grew up in El Segundo, Calif.
“So we’re going to take a look. If we can put together a group and make it a financial success, we’ll do it.”
The Royals aren’t the only enterprise that has Brett’s attention.
The Fresno franchise in the West Coast Hockey League is on the block. If it’s not sold before the end of the month, Brett has a 30-day option to buy that club, which he would keep in Fresno.
Brett said a West Coast League team would tie in nicely for players coming out of Spokane or other Western Hockey League clubs who currently slip through the cracks of professional hockey.
Brett maintains his home here. He says he’s not keen on leaving, but would move to Kansas City for the opportunity to run the Royals.
The Bretts and some partners made an unsuccessful $100 million offer for the Royals more than a year ago.
Chiefs healthy for Hawks
The Chiefs should be close to full strength tonight when they take on the Portland Winter Hawks in the Arena.
Three 17-year-olds who played in Wednesday night’s Canadian Hockey League top prospects game in Toronto are due back, coach Mike Babcock said.
Chiefs right wing Ty Jones had a goal and two assists in his team’s 7-2 win at Maple Leaf Gardens, Brett said.
Tonight, the Chiefs take a crack at the West’s front-runner.
“You always want to see how you measure up to the teams that are setting the tone in your league no matter what’s at stake,” said Babcock, whose club appears destined to finish third.
“Healthwise, this should be the best we’ve been in some time.”
The Chiefs will be right back at it Saturday night at 7 in the Arena with the Tri-City Americans, who scored three third-period goals to tie the Winter Hawks Tuesday night.
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