Since the team currently lacks a plan for a new Class AAA ballpark, Bexar County judge Nelson Wolff says the San Antonio Missions should consider renovating Wolff Stadium.
Wolff Stadium is currently occupied by the Class AA Texas League Missions, who are relocating after the 2018 season to a new ballpark in Amarillo. They will be replaced at Wolff Stadium by the current Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), who will adopt the Missions’ branding upon their move to San Antonio. This is all part of a series of franchise shifts by club owner Elmore Sports Group, which is also moving the Helena Brewers (Rookie; Pioneer League) to Colorado Springs.
The Class AAA Missions are slated to play at Wolff Stadium in the immediate future, but it has been expected that club owner Elmore Sports Group will pursue a new ballpark. Wolff Stadium opened in 1994 and lacks many of the amenities found in modern AA and AAA ballparks, and is regarded as being too far away from downtown San Antonio.
Wolff, for whom the ballpark is named, believes that some of these issues could be addressed through a major renovation/expansion of Wolff Stadium. He also believes that nearby development in recent years has made the ballpark’s location less remote. While the Missions do not yet have a firm plan for a new ballpark, Elmore Sports Group has had recent meetings with San Antonio officials, including mayor Ron Nirenberg. The club says that it remains focused on a new ballpark. More from the San Antonio Express-News:
“You can add 2,000 more seats easily to meet the (Triple-A standard),” Wolff said. “And there is room to expand the suites. The rap on that is the location. But let me tell you, if you go out (Highway) 90, everywhere you turn there are housing developments popping up. The area is changing.”…
Still, Elmore remains focused on gaining a new Triple-A park, a fact underscored by the recent meeting with Nirenberg.
“We have had a discussion with the mayor to keep him apprised of our situation as we transition to Triple-A in 2019 and we appreciate his enthusiasm for baseball in San Antonio,” Missions president Burl Yarbrough said in a statement.
In a statement of his own, Nirenberg said, “San Antonio is a big league city and it is ascending. I join the many thousands of Missions fans, and all of San Antonio, in anticipation of the Missions’ successful transition to AAA. The oldest sports franchise in our city — and one of the most storied clubs in minor league history — is beginning a new era. I know they are working on what that will mean long term for their stadium, and I look forward to hearing more about their plans.”
It seems that a new Missions’ ballpark plan will surface at some point, though finding a location close to or in downtown San Antonio and funding the facility will be major variables. It is also worth noting that ballpark discussions are not the only sports facility conversations taking place in San Antonio, as the city remains in the mix for an MLS expansion franchise. The chance of San Antonio landing an MLS club, however, will be greatly diminished if Columbus Crew SC follows through with its ongoing attempt to relocate to Austin.
All upcoming franchise shifts by Elmore Sports Group will take place after the 2018 season. Amarillo is currently the only city in that mix with plans to open a new ballpark, but a new facility in San Antonio remains on the group’s radar.
RELATED STORIES: New San Antonio Missions Ballpark Back on Track; MLS, Not MiLB Preferred by San Antonio Politicians; Fallout of San Antonio Triple-A Move: Watch for New PCL Affiliations in 2018; The Future of the Texas League: Remarkably Stable; After Helena Move, What Will Pioneer League Look Like?; Elmore Sports Group: Three Franchise Shifts in 2019; San Antonio Mayor: Ballpark Talks Are Not Dead; City Suspends Planning on San Antonio Triple-A Bid; No Plans For Releasing San Antonio Study; Elmore Sports Group Confirms Potential Sky Sox Move to San Antonio; Colorado Spring Sky Sox to San Antonio? Maybe