Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson is sounding mighty pleased these days, with good reason.
The city scored a big win this past week with an announcement that a minor league baseball franchise is pulling up stakes and relocating to the city she has helped govern for the past few weeks.
The San Antonio Missions will play ball at the new ballpark/multipurpose event venue to be built in downtown Amarillo. They’ll start their 2019 season in April of that year and the plan is for them to stay possibly for decades, depending on the number of contract extensions they sign.
OK, we don’t yet know the name of the new team, but a couple of things jumped out at me as I watched Nelson’s TV interview this past weekend.
* She credits the weather as being a big selling point for the Elmore Group deciding to move the Missions to Amarillo. That’s a bit of a surprise. Nelson said the weather from “April to September” is ideal for evening baseball. Low humidity, “downtown wind,” placid temperatures after the sun goes down all worked in Amarillo’s favor to luring the team here.
But … but … but what about those infamous spring winds, Mme. Mayor? Isn’t there a standing joke here about how, if you don’t like the weather, “just wait 10 minutes”? Let’s hope for the best on that one.
* Nelson also answered a valid question about the cost of the multipurpose event venue and how it’s going to cost more than that what the non-binding referendum in November 2015 called for. That measure pegged the price at $32 million; the current price tag is $45.5 million. “That’s an apples and oranges” comparison, Nelson told KAMR’s Jackie Kingston.
The referendum presumed an “independent baseball team” would be playing at the MPEV. The Missions are a major league-affiliated minor league AA team, which she said will provide a much better entertainment product for fans to enjoy.
I am in the mayor’s corner in celebrating the pending arrival of this new entertainment feature to Amarillo. I’ve noted before, but I believe it bears repeating: I see no downside in the city’s effort to its downtown district.