ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Tucson Padres — the Triple-A team hungrily eyed for relocation to El Paso — will stay put in Tucson and Kino Stadium for at least another year, but that won’t stop the West Texas city’s hunt for a minor league baseball team, the El Paso Times reported.
The Padres and Pacific Coast League officials announced the decision this week, with Tucson’s contract ending after the 2013 season, with the possibility of extending it through 2014, the Times said.
El Paso officials who have been trying to bring Triple-A baseball to the city weren’t fazed by the decision, since a new stadium that was approved by city councilors last week won’t be ready till the start of the 2014 season at the earliest, the paper reported.
MountainStar Sports Group, the local ownership group pursuing a minor league team for El Paso — didn’t comment, saying it would respect the Pacific Coast League process.
Tucson has been a stopgap for the Padres, a minor league affiliate of the San Diego Padres, which moved from Portland, Ore., in the fall of 2010 when Portland decided to build a new soccer-friendly stadium instead of a new ballpark, the Times said.
(For those of you who can keep up with the Byzantine moves of minor-league baseball, the Portland Beavers franchise used to be the Albuquerque Dukes. According to an earlier ABQNews Seeker report, investors were trying to lure the Beavers to El Paso back in 2010.)
San Diego Padres owner Jeff Moorad bought the Beavers and planned to build a park in Escondido, Calif., just 30 miles north of San Diego, but the deal fell through when the California state Legislature took away redevelopment funds, the Times said. Since then, Moorad has put the farm club franchise up for sale.