Well, now. It appears that Amarillo is in the hunt for a serious tenant for a proposed multipurpose event venue — with a ballpark — to be built in the city’s downtown district.
The city has been home to independent baseball teams for quite some time. As it has been noted, they come and go. Next year, the Amarillo Thunderheads are going to merge with the Grand Prairie AirHogs and will split their “home” games between the two locales.
Now comes word that the Local Government Corporation is going after an affiliated Class AA team, possibly the San Antonio Missions, a farm club linked with the National League San Diego Padres.
This team might want to come to Amarillo and play its home games in the MPEV.
Here’s what City Councilman Randy Burkett, a member of the LGC said to NewsChannel 10: “A AA team takes most of the risk out of it. An independent league and an independent team is very risky. They are here today and gone tomorrow in some cases. Not all cases, but with AA baseball, you’re a league affiliate with Major League Baseball. They’ll come in here and sign a 30-year agreement with us and then we’ll know we will have an affiliated team here for 30 years.”
There will be hurdles to clear. The LGC has to get a design done by April, under the timeline it and the City Council have set. Will the MPEV’s planned 4,500 permanent seats be enough for a AA baseball team? Will the MPEV’s estimated $32 million price tag hold up?
The city has changed its mind on whether to pursue an independent team. It has decided to pursue an affiliated minor-league franchise.
With a new ballpark officially on the table, the inducement has become decidedly more attractive.