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Road map laid out for Texas League to Amarillo

New Amarillo ballpark

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

“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.

RELATED STORIES: Amarillo companies commit to ballpark suites; Debate over new Amarillo ballpark rages on; Amarillo ballpark battle in works this fall; Future of new Amarillo ballpark in doubt

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