Maybe there are some cities unsuited for pro baseball. That would include Tucson, where the Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) are 26 home games from a move to El Paso.
Granted, the Tucson Padres were never slated to spend more than three or four seasons at Kino Stadium after the franchise was relocated from Portland. But with some local owners in the miox and the feeling that this would be a chance to show that pro baseball would work in Tucson, there’s understandable disappointment that the team never clicked. Some good people, including GM Mike Feder and broadcaster Tim Hagerty, worked awfully hard to make a go of things. But with attendance at 2,701 this season, it may be hard to mount a successful effort to bring back affiliated ball. Kino Stadium is an OK facility, but it’s not a draw. And let’s face it: the hot southern-Arizona summer is always going to be a challenge.
The Arizona Daily Star’s Greg Hansen has the typical reaction on attendance: all that’s needed is a winning team or a future MLB superstar to drive fans to the ballpark. That view from the pressbox is usually wrong. First, the Tucson Padres are currently in first place. Second, a good front office builds a solid fan experience independent of what happens on the field.
In the end, Tucson may be one of those cities where pro baseball just won’t work. (Let’s not forget that independent baseball playing out of Hi Corbett Field didn’t work, either.) That doesn’t mean it’s not a good baseball town — the University of Arizona is doing quite well playing out of a revamped Hi Corbett — but maybe pro baseball doesn’t appeal to residents.
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