There is a path for the Double-A Texas League to place a team at a new Amarillo ballpark, says league president Tom Kayser, but it will depend on a current team being displaced by a Triple-A team.
It’s happened before, when the Round Rock Express moved from Double-A to Triple-A and shifted the Double-A franchise to Corpus Christi. And with the potential of a new downtown San Antonio ballpark hosting Triple-A ball, the San Antonio Missions could be available for a move. Amarillo is a market that wouldn’t be out of place in the Texas League: the four-county CSA has a population of 249,881.
Now, no one saying that there will be a Texas League team available in the future: there are lots of moving parts (approval of new Amarillo ballpark, approval of a new San Antonio ballpark, a deal for a Triple-A team to take over the San Antonio market) before anyone could realistically discuss a Double-A Amarillo team. (Another factor: other cities — say, Wichita — would jump at the chance to build a new ballpark for a Double-A team.) Still, as Amarillo voters go to the polls next week to vote on a nonbinding referendum to move forward with a Multi-Purpose Event Venue (MPEV), the potential of affiliated ball in the city shouldn’t be ignored. From Amarillo.com:
“The answer is it’s always possible,” said Kayser of one of those franchises moving up. “It would take a number of different scenarios — or decisions — for that to occur.
“I can tell you back in 2004, the Round Rock situation was almost a fait accompli and I didn’t hear the first rumor. I got a phone call and was absolutely speechless. Fortunately, Corpus was there with a new ballpark.”…
“The Amarillo market would certainly not be disqualified because of any of the benchmarks,” said Kayser, who added he had no other markets on a short list in the need of a franchise. “A lot of things point to Amarillo as a market that may have some promise if there were an opportunity.”
Amarillo lost affiliated ball in 1982. The Amarillo Thunderheads (independent; American Association) play out of Potter County Stadium.