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Portland Beavers to…Lake Elsinore?

Portland Beavers logoUnder 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.

RELATED STORIES: Could bidding war erupt for Bevos?; 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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