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Moorad closes on Beavers sale, Tucson lease

San Diego PadresYesterday was a big day for Jeff Moorad and his purchase of the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League): He closed on a purchase of the franchise and a lease for Tucson’s KinKo Stadium was finalized, clearing the way for the 2011 season.

The new team, the Tucson Padres, will play at the former Tucson Electric Park. The lease, which runs from April 1 to Sept. 15, calls for Tucson AAA Baseball LLC to pay $60,000 in base rent and a 50-cent ticket surcharge. In return, the team will keep all revenues — including signage and suites — maintain the ballpark and pay all utilities. It’s a one-year lease with an option for 2012. Tucson AAA Baseball LLC will run the Padres on behalf of the ownership group; Mike Feder, a former GM of the Tucson Sidewinders (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will be GM of the T-Pods and manage the operation.

One more nice thing about the lease: it leaves open the possibility the San Diego Padres may play an exhibition game there.

Though the plan had been to play at Kino Stadium all along, there were negotiations to play at Hi Corbett Field, more centrally located in Tucson. The issue: Jay Zucker, owner of the Tucson Toros (independent; Golden Baseball League), has a lease for Hi Corbett with three years remaining. The Toros are on hiatus this coming season, but Zucker says he still may use the ballpark. The bigger issue was 2012: Feder’s group needed an option because it’s virtually guaranteed a new Escondido (Cal.) ballpark for the the T-Pods will not be ready until 2013 at the earliest. Since the Toros may return in 2012, Zucker could not guarantee availability at Hi Corbett — but we’re guessing if the Padres are still in town Zucker may want to avoid competing with the Triple-A product.

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