KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — USA Baseball, the national governing body for amateur baseball, has decided to end the Kingsport Axmen’s 2021 season, according to a front office official.
Chris Allen, the president of Boyd Sports, which manages the Axmen, said the season was canceled due to threats made against the team by a former player.
In a letter, Allen said a travel team is being assembled with new players to complete the season. He also told News Channel 11 that current Kingsport players who want to continue playing could be matched with other teams.
Open Letter from Boyd Sports:
The loyalty of the baseball fans of Kingsport drives us in everything we do. For that reason, we know we owe you transparency, and we are writing to update you on difficult events that have impacted our season.
Recently, Kingsport Axmen players experienced troubling and concerning behavior involving a former teammate, who is now under the care of medical professionals. Since becoming aware of this matter, Boyd Sports, USA Baseball and MLB all have aimed to act with the best interests of the welfare of the players and staff in mind. Discussions regarding to these unusual circumstances, USA Baseball made the decision to allow the players of the Kingsport Axmen to return home.
Because of this turn of events, we are adjusting as necessary. We are in the process of assembling a travel team with a different group of players to complete the season, because a decision like this affects not only the Kingsport Axmen but every other team in the league’s schedule. We do not want to let down our other nine partners in the Appalachian League.
This has been a challenge for all of us, and we appreciate your understanding and loyalty. Boyd Sports is committed to our fans, season ticket holders, and corporate partners in King- sport long term. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to the bright future of baseball in Kingsport.Chris Allen, president of Boyd Sports
This comes after former Kingsport pitcher Matthew Taylor was arrested for making threats, which led to the postponement of Monday’s and Tuesday’s games against Greeneville as a precaution. Taylor, a Kingsport native, was charged with false reports and harassment.
According to court documents, following his dismissal from the team, Taylor sent Snapchat messages to a player in which he said he would “kill everyone single one of y’all” and made references to “Columbine 2.0.”
Allen says counseling will be available to players who want it.
Boyd Sports also owns the Johnson City Doughboys, Greeneville Flyboys, and Elizabethton River Riders in the Appalachian League plus the minor league Tennessee Smokies team in Sevierville.