The last word on the Ventura County Gulls appears to be this: For a nice bunch of guys, they sure don't know how to say goodby.
First, they dragged out their last home game until it had to be called because of darkness. Now, they are dragging out the sale of the team until . . . who knows?
Fans were nearly given an appropriate kiss goodby from their Gull friends. Scott deMarrais smacked a three-run home run in the seventh inning of the final home game last Thursday to give the Gulls a 4-2 lead.
But the Palm Springs Angels spoiled the send-off by taking a 5-4 lead in the eighth. The Gulls quickly tied the game, 5-5, in the bottom of the inning.
It was their final act of any promptness. No one scored in the ninth, sending the game into extra innings.
No one scored in the 10th, and about half the crowd of 528 had left. And when no one scored in the 11th, the game was called, three hours and 28 minutes after it began.
The ownership of the Gulls is handling the sale of the team in the same meandering manner.
"We have three offers in writing," said Ken McMullen, who owns a third of the team. "But we may not make an announcement until Sept. 15."
Jim Biby, general manager and owner of a third of the team, has confirmed that one offer is significantly more appealing than the two others. It would allow Biby to remain as general manager and would allow the team to relocate to San Bernardino, which is Biby's first choice.
Although McMullen and Jim Colborn, the former major league pitcher who owns the remaining third of the team, don't really care where the team relocates, McMullen said that they are glad to accommodate Biby.
San Bernardino city officials have even offered to help new owners with money from an economic development fund, according to John Kramer, an administrator of the recreation and park district. "The city is excited about bringing minor league baseball to San Bernardino," Kramer said.
So what's the hang-up?
Biby said he must wait until Colborn returns from his job as minor league pitching instructor in the Chicago Cubs organization.
Said Biby: "I'd like to make an announcement, but I can't."
The team wanted to end the last home game in front of its precious few fans, but was unable. It appears the owners are able to announce the sale of the team, but are unwilling.
The Gulls won Thursday's uncompleted game, 6-5, in Palm Springs on Friday. . . They finished the season last Sunday by splitting a doubleheader with the Palm Springs Angels. Ventura County won the first game, 12-7, and dropped the second game, 8-3. . . . They finished the second half of their California League schedule with a record of 29-41, 14 games behind Visalia.