By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- The drive from Richmond was taking its toll.
After six years, Stu Richardson has sold the Woodstock River Bandits to Jim Yates, who lives in Rappahannock County. The sale was approved by the Valley Baseball League on Thursday. Richardson, who lives in Richmond, said he wanted to spend more time with his family and less time on the road.
"I'm not as young as I used to be," Richardson said. "When I started this a three-hour drive from Richmond didn't bother me as much."
Richardson is the team's only owner, having started the franchise in 2004. The River Bandits have enjoyed success, advancing to the playoffs several times including this season. Woodstock finished 24-22 this season, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Winchester.
The River Bandits have had 34 players either drafted or sign with a major league team.
Richardson, who is a former VBL manager, said he enjoyed his time with the franchise.
"It's been great," Richardson said. "I like to think we took the franchise and made it into one of the better ones in the league."
Richadson said Yates has been trying to get involved with the Valley League for some time and it was the perfect opportunity for him.
"I think he will do a great job with the team," Richardson said. "It's a good business deal for him and a good business deal for us."
Robert "Porky" Bowman will also take over as general manager of the team, replacing Jerry Walters. Richardson said he will be a consultant next season for both Yates and Bowman.
Richardson said the fans in Woodstock were great over the years, and he hopes Woodstock will continue to have a team for years to come.
"I really hope the town stays on board with the team and it keeps on going," he said. "New Market just celebrated their 40th year as a franchise and it would be great if Woodstock would one day be able to do the same.
"I think having a Valley League team is great for the community. Every small town would love to have a franchise like this."