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Could bidding war erupt for Bevos?

After months of being on the market with little interest from buyers, there's increased activity surrounding a potential buyer for the Portland Beavers — whose 2011 home is still unsettled.

After months of being on the market with little interest from buyers, there's increased activity surrounding a potential buyer for the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) — whose 2011 home is still unsettled.

The San Diego Padres have shown the most public interest in the franchise, even going to the point of contacting Cal State San Marcos about the possibility of the school hosting a $35-$50 million ballpark for the university baseball team and a relocated Beavers or a Class A California League team. (Indeed, there are issues with Cal League franchises as well, though we've heard the owners of the Bakersfield Blaze and High Desert Mavericks will receive additional time to work out buyers or new ballparks; we suspect the Padres would turn to Bakersfield should the team want to place a Class A team in San Marcos.) San Marcos is 35 minutes north of San Diego in North County; we had reported last week about the Padres seeking to put the Beavers there. Given California's budget issues, it seems a stretch to see a state university willing to spend $35 million on a new ballpark, so some sort of private development needs to be involved — though we've been hearing through the grapevine that this is a promising project.

There's no way a ballpark could be finished for the 2011 season; the plan would still be to park the team in Tucson temporarily, although there was earlier talk of the Bevos playing in Peoria, Az., at the Padres' spring-training facility. 

Still, a purchase of the Beavers by the Padres is far from a slam dunk. We continue to hear serious attention from an El Paso group seeking to build a new ballpark in that city. So far neither the Padres and this group have submitted any firm offers to Beavers owner Merritt Paulson; at one point we were told he was asking $17 million for the franchise, but the end price will probably be below $15 million — unless a serious bidding war emerges.

One factor that may launch a bidding war: supply and demand. Owning a Pacific League team means you can play pretty much anywhere west of a line running from Nashville to Des Moines. That's appealing to people wanting to bring affiliated baseball to Texas: there are no Class A leagues serving Texas, and it looks like every Class AA Texas League team is tied to a market via long-term lease. In suburban Sugar Land, where that city is negotiating new-ballpark financing with Peter Kirk, who owns several independent Atlantic League teams, some officials there have raised the prospect of bringing in Triple-A baseball instead of an Atlantic League team. That leaves only Triple-A as a possibility for affiliated ball in Texas — which is why the El Paso group is so eager to land the Beavers, since it's really the only one free and clear of any ballpark or lease encumbrances, especially with the Nashville owners optimistic about landing a new or renovated ballpark.

RELATED STORIES: Portland Bevos update: Tucson-bound?; Come 2011, where will Beavers play?; Paulson finalizes deal for PGE Park soccer conversion; whither the Bevos?; Paulson withdraws bid for Bevos ballpark in Beaverton; Decision on Bevos ballpark could go to Beaverton voters; Beaverton, Bevos reach agreement on new ballpark sans site; Land woes could kill Bevos ballpark in Beaverton; Picketers greet pro-Beavers rally in Beaverton; Landowners not thrilled with Beaverton Bevos ballpark plan; Bevos eye Beaverton for new ballpark site; Paulson withdraws request for Bevos ballpark in Lents; Portland to move ahead with soccer renovation, put off plans for Bevos ballpark; Thursday vote could determine Bevos ballpark fate; New Beavers ballpark lacks support on City Council; Bevos, city close to final funding proposal for new ballpark; Rose Quarter location officially off the table for new Bevos ballparkBevos ballpark plans back up in the air — and maybe doomed; Portland ballpark vote delayed as mayor adjusts site, financial plans; New Beavers ballpark wouldn't happen until 2012 — at the earliest; Cost of Portland redevelopment mushrooms to almost $300 million; Crunching the numbers on a new Bevos ballpark; Portland proposes tearing down Memorial Coliseum for new Bevos ballpark; Portland City Council votes to move ahead with new Bevos ballpark — but takes $15 million from the equation; Paulson agrees to Portland's financial demands; still may not be enough; Bevos ballpark plan runs into serious financial obstacles; Portland task force gives preliminary approval to new Bevos ballpark — with plenty of conditions; Portland ballpark discussion shifts to Rose Quarter; Decision on new Bevos ballpark location delayed; Will new ballpark fly in Lents?

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