Parsons, who served as the Appalachian League team’s general manager since 2014, accepted a position with the Lansing Lugnuts in his home state of Michigan.
The Lugnuts, a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate, play in the Class A Midwest League. Lansing was Johnson City native Daniel Norris’ first full-season minor-league stop on his way to the majors.
“I’m really going to miss the mountains and miss the people and everything about Johnson City,” Parsons, who had been promoted to vice president, said Tuesday. “I happened to be at the right place at the right time. They have an amazing stadium and it’s close to home. It just made a lot of sense.”
Boyd Sports, LLC, which runs the Johnson City Cardinals and Tennessee Smokies, announced his departure Tuesday.
Under Parsons’ care, the Cardinals set franchise attendance records two years in a row, had their stadium voted the best in Rookie League-level baseball and turned TVA Credit Union Ballpark into the place to be on a summer night in Johnson City.
Parsons has also directed several renovations at the stadium, including new fencing along the outside, an artificial turf infield, 200-person group deck and the recent installation of new lights.
“You always hope to leave where you are in a better place than where it was,” Parsons said. “The Cardinals have a very bright future. I feel proud about what we accomplished. I constantly had people telling me in 2014 that it was wasted energy, that the Cardinals were fading away and people used to come to Cardinals’ games.
“I saw great potential and a bunch of people that would work in a different type of atmosphere. I was incredibly fortunate. The community got behind what we were doing.”
The team also won the league championship in 2014 and ’16.
The new job will be a homecoming for Parsons, who grew up in Dansville, Michigan, 23 miles from Lansing.
“Probably 90 percent of my family lives in that county,” Parsons said. “It’s home and Lansing has really been my hometown team in minor league baseball. People always joked around with me when I was getting into the sport that I’d be in charge of the Lugnuts someday.”
Parson’s new position with the Lansing team hasn’t been worked out yet
In addition to running the show in Johnson City, he did a little bit of everything, from ticket sales to setting up beer kegs to handling a mop. He was even a mascot on at least one occasion.
“It’s the Appalachian League,” he said. “I have a ton of respect for this league. There aren’t many places like the Appalachian League where you can experience everything.”