MANKATO — After selling gasoline for the Stillwater-based Croix Oil Co. for nearly 30 years, Mark Ogren has decided to get into the baseball business.
More specifically, Ogren has opted to buy the Mankato MoonDogs summer collegiate baseball team from Joe Schwei and join the Northwoods League as a franchise owner. The sale of the MoonDogs to the Ogren, the owner and president of Croix Oil since 1995, was announced Thursday.
“I’m a huge sports fan and I’ve always been intrigued by the Northwoods League,” Ogren said. “I know a guy that used to own a couple of franchises and we got to talking about it. He knew Joe, so I approached him and we were able to cut a deal.”
Ogren’s first priority will be learning how the business of owning the MoonDogs works. To that end, he has decided to retain Schwei as a consultant for three years and plans to keep general manager Kyle Mrozek and assistant general manager Greg Weis in their positions for the upcoming season.
Schwei said the timing was right for the sale because of his growing family.
“I’m at a point in my life where it would be nice to have a few more summer nights free,” said Schwei, who begins work as the development director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on Monday. “We have a 2-year-old at home and another baby on the way, so I thought this was a good time.
“The key for me is that Mark loves baseball and he’s been a very successful business man. After 11 years as owner, I think it’s time for new blood, new ideas, new energy ... I believe Mark fits that bill.”
Ogren and Schwei began talking about the sale in September 2012 and finally had an agreement in place after Christmas. Both Mrozek and Weis have met with Ogren and believe the transition to the new owner will be a smooth one.