Under a plan currently under consideration, the Portland Beavers would be sold to the San Diego Padres, with the team splitting its games next season between Petco Park and The Diamond, the home of the Pods’ Cal League affiliate, before a new San Marcos ballpark opens.
The Beavers will be homeless at the end of this season after PGE Park is reconfigured for MLS soccer. The destination of the team has been a hot topic in minor-league circles.
Several sources have confirmed that Padres owner Jeff Moorad has discussed a purchase of the Bevos with owner Merritt Paulson and approached the owners of the Lake Elsinore Storm (High Class A; California League) about parking the Beavers there for at least half the season. The remaining games would be played at Petco Park. The split may be workable, though a little hard on the players: The Diamond is almost exactly 75 miles from Petco Park.
This arrangement would go on for at least one season, until a new ballpark opens on the Cal State San Marcos campus. This is a risky move for the Padres: there’s no funding scheme yet for a ballpark at the smaller university, which is moving up to NCAA Division I status. Furthermore, many in baseball think the Padres have it backwards: Lake Elsinore is probably the better Triple-A market, as the Riverside/Moreno Valley is a high-growth area. San Marcos, they say, is a more appropriate Single-A market. And it may be easier to raise funds for a Single-A ballpark than a Triple-A ballpark if you’re running San Marcos.
The sale price has been pegged at $13 million or $15 million (“depending on how much Moorad wants to squeeze Merritt,” in the words of one insider). A low purchase price does lessen the risk for the Padres; the franchise is a fungible asset, and if a San Marcos ballpark falls through the team can be flipped for a tidy profit. Sources have reported Paulson has been quoting $13 million to prospective buyers and has discussed financing the sale in order to rid himself of the PCL team.
The arrangement would be historic on many levels. We can’t find the case of a Triple-A team sharing a MLB ballpark for half of a season. There’s not been two teams on different levels playing at the same ballpark since Danville’s American Legion Field — now Dan Daniel Stadium — fielded Appy Legue and Carolina League teams in 1998, and Greer Stadium hosted the Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; American Association) and the Nashville Xpress (Class AA; Southern League) in 1993-1994. Of course, the Palm Beach Cardinals and the Jupiter Hammerheads (High Class A; Florida State League) have shared Roger Dean Stadium for many years now.
We’re also told Tucson remains an option as a backup temporary home should the Lake Elsinore/Petco Park split not be workable.
For the Beavers, it’s another ignoble end to yet another baseball run in the city. Since the turn of the century the Portland Beavers have been one of the most storied teams in baseball in their various incarnations. We’re guessing it may be many years before pro baseball returns to the Rose City — and that’s a crying shame.
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