The Eugene Emeralds will indeed be moving to PK Park next season, but the situation is considerably more complex than a simple venue shift.
The Eugene Emeralds (short season; Northwest League) will indeed be moving to PK Park next season, but the situation is considerably more complex than a simple venue shift.
Ems and University of Oregon officials held a press conference yesterday to formally announce what had been a poorly kept secret in minor-league circles. The Emeralds had played for decades at Civic Stadium, a wooden structure opening in 1938 as the home to professional baseball in Eugene, housing Pacific Coast League and Northwest League teams along the way.
The lure of a new ballpark, though, is hard to resist. So the Ems and the university have come to a broad agreement on a 20-year lease.
With a few conditions.
First, the ballpark needs some improvements to accommodate minor-league standards. (Actually, it needs a whole lot more; the $19 million ballpark is being built in two phases, with the major work occurring this offseason.) The University of Oregon says it won't pay for these improvements on a project that's already over budget; the Ems will need to find the funding somewhere.
The needed funding, $2-$3 million, will pay for a visitors' clubhouse, an umpires' room and training facilities mandated by the PBA. Plus, the Ems will pay a yearly rent of $200,000.
It could be argued that the Oregon Ducks will benefit as much from the visitors' clubhouse as the Ems will; in fact, it's highly unlikely the university could ever host NCAA playoff games without these basics. So shifting the financials on the backs of the Emeralds seems to be a little shifty, to say the least. Especially when there's the better chance of a Duck donor coming up with $2 million than the city or the team.
That's why there's no long-term lease yet, nor a commitment by the Ems to play at PK Park for more than two years for the time being.
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