ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Goldpanners plan on being around for a long time. The oldest and most successful team in the Alaska Baseball League, the Panners have a plan to keep themselves financially healthy. Unfortunately, for ABL fans, that plan calls for the Panners to play only a partial schedule in 2011.
The Panners insist they're not facing bankruptcy, but are trying to go into the 2012 season with no debt load, something they weren’t able to do last season. Fairbanks, like every other ABL team, generates a great deal of its revenue from pull tabs, and during the national recession, that money has significantly decreased. Also, the Panners' player housing facility was moved and upgraded this year, causing the team to spend an additional $40,000 more than usual.
The Panners say they will be an adjunct member of the Alaska League. The team plans on playing 30 home games next season during the month of June. The schedule isn't finalized, but Panner official Todd Dennis told KTUU Tuesday that he expects to play the Anchorage Bucs, Peninsula Oilers and AIA Fire in that homestand. Dennis also said the Panners would play the annual Midnight Sun game. The Panners will leave Alaska in July to play in a tournament in the Lower 48 before disbanding for the year in early July.