Arthur Ashe has withdrawn from the group seeking a baseball expansion franchise for Northern Virginia, the group's leader, Mark Tracz, said yesterday.
Ashe left the group "for personal reasons he didn't reveal to us," Tracz said. A Richmond native who lives in New York, Ashe had been a member of the group's general partnership entity but did not have a large financial interest in the venture.
Tracz said Ashe, the former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion, made his intentions known to the group about three weeks ago, and the group informed the National League Expansion Committee during its presentation to the committee Sept. 19 in New York.
"It's a loss," Tracz said. "We want to get good people and give them a substantial role. We just thought it was a real neat fit. We went to New York to try to convince him to stay in. He said he was flexible about when he was going to withdraw, but we wanted to be straightforward with the expansion committee."
Ashe could not be reached for comment.
Tracz said his group is "in conversation with a couple of people" who have expressed an interest in becoming investors.
John Akridge, leader of a group seeking a team that would play at RFK Stadium, said his group has added some investors and is seeking others but declined to identify any. During his group's presentation to the expansion committee Akridge said "we explained that our group was not complete. . . . Now we're out looking to firm up our investor group.
"It would be nice to add another minority," Akridge said. "It would be nice to add a woman. It would be nice to add someone with interests in a farm system. It would be nice to add someone with media experience to supplement Donald Dell." Dell, chairman of the Arlington-based sports management and marketing firm ProServ, is one of the organizers of Akridge's group.