The Texas Rangers will host two exhibition games at the end of spring training at the Alamodome, which brings up a long-time issue in the city: the future of baseball in San Antonio.
The stadium, built for football and also serving as a past home of the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), will provide an interesting configuration challenge for the Rangers. Reid Ryan, head of the Round Rock Express (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), is spearheading the effort and confirmed an announcement on the teams will be made Friday:
The dome wasn’t built to hold a baseball field. It’s longer than it is wide because of railroad tracks that run along its eastern wall. But a “short porch” — a left- or right-field wall closer than normal ballparks — could make for exciting games with plenty of home runs.
Ryan said the exhibition games would be a “special event at a great venue,” but he acknowledged the Alamodome “wouldn’t be a venue you could play an entire season in.”
Reid and Nolan Ryan have discussed exhibition games in the dome for a long while, the younger Ryan said. They’ve driven past the facility countless times on their way to a South Texas ranch and have attended various sporting events and concerts in the Alamodome.
It’s not the first time the Alamodome has been eyed as a pro-baseball venue. When he was lobbying Miami officials for public funding of a new Florida Marlins ballpark, owner Jeffrey Loria visited San Antonio and declared interest in moving the Fish there if a ballpark didn’t happen.
The game will surely spur discussion once again of how pro baseball in San Antonio will look in the future. While it’s unlikely any MLB team will be clamoring for a new San Antonio ballpark any time soon, Minor League Baseball’s presence in the city is surely worth some talk. The San Antonio Missions (Class AA; Texas League) and Bexar County have been exploring a downtown ballpark, and Judge Nelson Wolff — a major player in the city and the man for whom Wolff Stadium is named — argues that the city should be hosting Triple-A baseball. We’re guessing some folks in Wolff’s circles weren’t happy that El Paso landed a downtown ballpark and a Pacific Coast League team; we’re guessing any future talk of San Antonio ballpark will include an argument that it should meet Triple-A specs. Just in case.
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