Tag Archives: Elmore Group

A deal to keep the Sod Poodles long term?

A friend of mine who responds regularly to my blog posts has pitched an interesting note of skepticism about the new baseball team that will start playing ball in downtown Amarillo next spring.

He wonders about the ownership of the Amarillo Sod Poodles and whether the owner — the Elmore Group — is devoted sufficiently to keeping the Class AA team in Amarillo over the long term.

My friend says if the team fails to fill a sufficient number of seats at the shiny new ballpark under construction across the street from City Hall, the Elmore Group is likely to look elsewhere to play hardball.

Interesting notion, don’t you think?

The Sod Poodles’ owner already has shown a willingness to move. After all, the Elmore Group relocated the San Antonio Missions from the Alamo City to the Panhandle. San Antonio is going to get a Class AAA team in exchange. But my friend does raise a valid question.

I’m wondering if there’s an option for the city to pursue that might get the Sod Poodles’ owners to committing to a lengthy stay in Amarillo. I am unaware of any such stipulation at the moment. Nor am I well-versed enough in how these kinds of arrangements are finalized.

I’ll just ask it here, using this forum to keep the discussion going.

I remain an unbridled optimist nevertheless about the prospect for the Sod Poodles’ success. They have a team already established; it’s just headquartered in another city at the moment. The new team has a name that, granted, will have to grow on us.

What we don’t have is a long-term commitment from the team owners to stay put.

Maybe the city can secure such a commitment, yes? Maybe? Perhaps?

Sod Poodles it is!

Well, so much for spies and snitches who led me astray.

The Amarillo baseball franchise that starts playing ball next spring today revealed the name of the Double A team that will take the field next April.

Amarillo Sod Poodles? Yep, that’s it, man! Sod Poodles.

Get used to it.

A friend who said he knew what was coming today told me he thought the team would announce another name, even though Sod Poodles had gotten the most public attention. That was the subject of an earlier blog post.

I can imagine now that the chatter, tittering and muttering has commenced already. Many of Amarillo’s residents are now talking about the new name, which is what the owners of the team wanted when they announced the list of five finalist names a few months ago.

I’ll admit one thing for sure: I hated Sod Poodles when I first saw the name on the list of five finalists listed by the Elmore Group, owners of the franchise. I rated the name at the bottom of the finalist list, right next to Jerky.

Then I thought about it. And I thought some more about it. Over time, the name began to grow on me.

The Elmore Group, the team owners, said it sought a quirky name, one that would generate some discussion in Amarillo and around the Texas League, to which the team will belong.

I’m betting the team owners will accomplish their mission once the Sod Poodles name is circulated around the league — and around the country.

Is this my idea of a suitable name for a baseball team? No. However, it does have a curiously attractive ring to it.

I cannot explain it. It just does.

Sod Poodles? Is this the name?

Maybe it’s just me, but my sense from afar — from my new perch in Collin County — I am beginning to sense that Sod Poodles is slated to be the name of Amarillo’s new AA minor-league baseball team.

Sod Poodles emerged as one of five finalist names under consideration by the Elmore Group, the outfit that owns the baseball team that will begin playing ball in Amarillo in April 2019. The team owners have opened the names up to baseball fans, asking fans to pick the name they want for the new team.

Maybe it’s just my unusually unreliable trick knee that’s telling me this. But I sense that Sod Poodles is getting a bit of traction among baseball fans.

Or, maybe it’s just that the Sod Poodles name is growing on me. I confess to hating it when I first saw the name among the five finalists being considered for the team that will move to Amarillo from San Antonio.

My new “least favorite” name happens to be Jerky. By no stretch of the imagination do I want Amarillo’s new ballclub to take the field as the Amarillo Jerky.

Amarillo Sod Poodles, the so-called one-time term used to describe prairie dogs? It has a certain ring to it now that I’ve rolled it around a time or three or four. For that matter I could live with any of the other finalist names — sans Jerky — under consideration.

I have to confess that Sod Poodles is beginning to make a lick of sense — even from my distant perch.

MPEV ground broken; city bolts toward brighter future

A crowd of about 200 or 300 folks came today to a vacant lot across from Amarillo City Hall. There was some back-slapping, congratulatory wishes and plenty of smiles to be seen.

And for a very good reason.

They broke ground today on a $45 million entertainment venue — aka The Ballpark — that is likely to help lead downtown Amarillo toward a future that few of us thought was possible.

I do believe the future is a bright one.

The multipurpose event venue has been called a “catalyst” that would spark downtown Amarillo’s revival and rebirth. They lit that catalyst this afternoon. May the spark now light an economic fire.

City officials welcomed executives from the Elmore Group, owners of the new AA minor-league baseball team that will play ball at the MPEV when it’s done, no later than April 2019. Elmore execs declared their intention to make Amarillo the nation’s top minor-league baseball city.

Given the hope and optimism I witnessed today under a bright winter sun, I have a hunch many of those in attendance today believe that high-minded goal is well within reach. I hope it comes true.

I am acutely aware that a big crowd at a ceremonial groundbreaking doesn’t guarantee success. Construction has to proceed quickly. It should be done at or under budget.

The MPEV will need to open with lots of people sitting in its seats to watch the baseball team that is moving here from San Antonio. Many high-profile supporters of the MPEV — and I can cite retired Amarillo College President Paul Matney as one of them — have contended that Amarillo is a “good baseball town.” We will determine the legitimacy of that claim in due course.

The catalyst also is slated to bring more business into the downtown district. It will help fill a shiny new hotel and a parking garage across the street from the Civic Center. It also might become a good promotional tool for the city to lure more convention business, which will bring presumably deep-pocketed visitors to Amarillo.

That’s all in the immediate future for a city that has embarked on a serious makeover of its central business district.

Today, they broke ground on the next big step on the city’s journey toward a brighter future.

Now … let’s get busy.