Don't look now, but the reconstituted Tucson Toros are pacing the independent Golden Baseball League in attendance while playing at historic Hi Corbett Field. This leads us to wonder: Would Triple-A have survived there if Jay Zucker would have moved the Sidewinders into town?
So far this season Jay Zucker is one of the smartest men in baseball. He sold the Tucson Sidewinders (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) to a Reno group for upwards of $13 million after suffering through some mediocre seasons at Tucson Electric Park, a bland complex more suited for spring training. Retaining the old Tucson Toros logos and marks, he then launches a new version of the Toros and installs them at Hi Corbet Field, a historic facility in the middle of town where there's actually the potential for large walk-up crowds.
So far all the machinations have worked. The Toros mark is one of the best ever in baseball, and bringing it back in the Golden Baseball League was a smooth move. Hi Corbett Field is a lovely old ballpark, short on the amenities but long on charm and location. So far the machinations have yielded 4,182 fans a game for 16 Toros openings, by far the best attendance in the indy circuit. And we're guessing the team has a better chance of drawing well in late July and August than the Sidewinders did in Tucson Electric Park.
The big question: if Zucker had reverted to the Toros name and moved into town, would Triple-A baseball still be in Tucson? We'll never know the answer, but it's a shame this wasn't tried before the team was sold.
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