Why not play ball at MPEV?

Amarillo MPEV

Jon Mark Beilue might have laid out what could be a pivotal argument for approving construction of a multipurpose event venue — as it’s currently configured — in downtown Amarillo.

The stellar Amarillo Globe-News columnist — and a friend of yours truly — noted in an essay: “I would bet all the change in my pocket that no less than two years after construction, independent baseball would be replaced with AA Texas League affiliated baseball. From there, the MPEV could be designed in such a way as to draw other events that are the other half in making the venue succeed and attracting downtown crowds to added retail.”

The MPEV is coming up for a vote on Nov. 3. It headed to the ballot on a narrow 3-2 Amarillo City Council vote, with the three newest council members voting to place the issue on the ballot.

The crux of Beilue’s column was that the new guys “whiffed” on common sense, and that they had their mind made up long before taking the vote.

But I’m intrigued by the notion of what might happen if the MPEV design gets voter approval this fall.

As has been noted before — in this blog and in many other forum — Potter County Memorial Stadium, aka the Dilla Villa and now the Thunderhead Park, is a dump. It’s hardly more than a piece of fecal matter as far as athletic complexes go.

Is it unreasonable to believe that a brand new, shiny, state-of-the-art venue could become a magnet for the kind of minor-league baseball organization that Beilue and others visualize for the city?

My answer is “no,” not in the least.

Beilue writes: “Neither I nor most others are married to a baseball stadium as the signature piece of an MPEV, but it’s the most logical. The MPEV needs an anchor tenant, and baseball fits that.

“A Hollywood Bowl design has appeal, but its events would be in direct competition with the Globe-News Center for Performing Arts and Amarillo Civic Center Complex. Baseball is a unique alternative that would draw thousands.”

I refuse to heed the naysayers who insist that Amarillo “isn’t a baseball town.” It hasn’t been a baseball town for years largely, in my view, because that rat hole at the Tri-State Fairgrounds is a lousy place to play — or watch — a baseball game.

The ballot measure states: “Should the Multi-Purpose Event Venue (MPEV) to be constructed in downtown Amarillo include a Baseball Stadium at the approximate cost of $32 million?”

It works for me.

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