Owners of the Cleburne Railroaders, who have a new ballpark under construction but no league affiliation, were in St. Paul for the American Association All-Star Game to pitch owners on a 2017 team.
Railroaders President Robbie Fentyes was on hand to meet with league officials about entering the league next season. There are three options at play here: the American Association expands by two teams, a Cleburne team replaces an existing team, or the league sticks with the current lineup for 2017. From the Cleburne Times Review:
The three-day trip was business as well. Fenyes met with the owners of the 12-team league to present Cleburne’s vision for baseball. Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson accompanied as well to expand on the retail and entertainment options of Cleburne Station, a larger retail and dining complex of which The Depot will be a part.
“We went up to get in front of the owners and present ourselves,” Fenyes said. “So this was sort of step one of looking at a league. The owners took an interest and we gave a very detailed presentation. At this point we need to file an application. The league meets in October at which point we will be considered for membership….
“But, at this point, it was a very big deal for us, and for Cleburne, that a premiere league has shown interest and extended an invitation for us to visit with them,” Fenyes said. “It was a valuable experience and a big deal for us to be there because this is a league where Bill Murray is part owner of a team. You have former MLB players who are owners. So it’s a big deal and not just a rec league. That they were willing to meet with us shows that they understand we’re serious in working on bringing a big deal, professional team to Cleburne.”
Besides hosting pro baseball, The Depot is also planned as a community event center, including soccer matches. Cleburne is located in the southwestern corner of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Populous is designing the ballpark; Hunt Construction is in charge of construction.
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