A plan to bring a Triple-A Pacific Coast League team to a new downtown San Antonio ballpark is expected to be announced next week by Elmore Sports Group, owner of the San Antonio Missions (Class AA; Texas League).
“I can confirm that I have been in detailed discussions for months with the San Antonio Missions,” Mayor Ivy Taylor told MySanAntonio.com. “The Missions are committed to being a partner in a downtown baseball project and are exploring every option available to bring a Triple-A baseball club to San Antonio. However, Minor League Baseball will have to approve any teams moving into or out of our city.”
Being a partner is a key phrase here: The Missions will need to work with the San Antonio Spurs and the Texas Rangers on any ballpark pitches. The Spurs have veto power on any new downtown facility that could compete with AT&T Center, and as of late the Spurs ownership has expanded into other sports ventures, including new ownership of a USL team with an eye toward MLS. And the Texas Rangers have not been shy about expressing interest in a San Antonio Triple-A team, partly as a way to expand the team’s TV footprint into the market.
Besides the Missions, members of the Elmore Sports Group own the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), the Inland Empire 66ers (High A; California League), the Bakersfield Blaze (High A; California League), the Eugene Emeralds (short season A; Northwest League), the Helena Brewers (rookie; Pioneer League) and the Idaho Falls Chukars (rookie; Pioneer League), and are in the process of buying the Lynchburg Hillcats (High A; Carolina League). The Elmore Sports Group includes Dave Elmore, D.G. Elmore Jr. and Doug Elmore.
The issue of a new downtown ballpark has been under study in recent months by Centro San Antonio, a local business organization. According to MySanAntonio.com, potential ballpark sites include the northwest corner of Hemisfair, at South Alamo and Market streets; the Institute of Texan Cultures; Fox Tech High School; an area south of the Alamodome; and sites near Lone Star and the Pearl.
And, of course, the announcement will begin speculation about a potential team move. The assumption is that the Sky Sox would be moved, but that’s probably a premature assumption. There are potentially PCL teams on the market, so we’ll let the process play out. And, of course, tongues will wag over the potential availability of a Texas League team on the market, which rarely happen. Amarillo officials have already have a new ballpark in the works, and you can bet Wichita leaders will relaunch efforts to bring affiliated ball back to town.
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