The El Paso Diablos (independent; American Association) could live on if the city sells Cohen Stadium to the Tigua tribe, which owns and operates the team.
The issue: a deal to bring a Class AAA Pacific Coast League team to a new downtown ballpark contains a noncomplete clause, prohibiting the city from doing business with another team in the market. The clause was directed at the Diablos in an attempt to drive the independent team from El Paso, but it won't kick in until 2016, when the Cohen Stadium lease expires.
Which, of course, came as bad news to the Tigua tribe, which owns the Diablos and have invested more than a million dollars into ballpark improvements. We're told the Diablos are profitable, so they have incentive to fight to stay in El Paso, and one way El Paso officials see honoring the Triple-A lease while not driving the Diablos out of business is selling Cohen Stadium to the Tigua tribe: the city certainly won't be leasing a competing facility to another ball team if it doesn't own the ballpark.
Interesting notion, and that one also avoids a lawsuit from the Diablos. We're not sure a lawsuit contesting the noncompete would prevail -- a city can pretty much do business with anyone it wants, and if the city decided not to enter into a new lease, it's hard to see a Texas court compel it to do so -- and we're not so sure the Tiguas would be smart to stay in El Paso anyway. There are no markets the size of El Paso where affiliated and independent teams both thrive, and the new PCL team will have the advantage of a shiny new downtown ballpark and tons of media coverage. Indeed, every time a independent team has attempted to compete with a new affiliated team -- Corpus Christi, Springfield -- the indy team has gone out of business.
Right now there's no consensus on a plan for selling the ballpark, and there's plenty of time to make a decision: a new downtown ballpark won't open until 2014.
RELATED STORIES: One side effect of new El Paso ballpark: return of UTEP baseball; El Paso ownership group pitches PCL; El Paso approves ballpark for Triple-A team; First look: El Paso ballpark renderings; Diablos casualty of new El Paso ballpark; Downtown ballpark planning moving forward in El Paso; El Paso to debate ballpark bond issue; El Paso group seeking downtown ballpark, T-Pads; Moorad to Escondido: We need quick action on ballpark; Obstacles to new ballparks in California: not as bleak as expected; Escondido moving forward with business park on proposed ballpark property; City, not Moorad group, to acquire Escondido land; Escondido mayor: Time to scrap new-ballpark plan; Moorad: Leaving Padres in Tucson a possibility; Escondido ballpark vote put off indefinitely; Escondido ballpark vote delayed;State government could kill Escondido T-Pods ballpark; New for 2011: Tucson Padres;Escondido approves Triple-A ballpark -- with reservations; Moorad group, Escondido sign MOU for new ballpark; Escondido council fills vacancy in advance of ballpark vote; Crunch time for new Escondido ballpark; Padres raise ante in Escondido ballpark negotiations; Escondido ballpark vote delayed again; new council will decide; Padres make it official: Beavers to Tucson in 2011; Election shows mixed support for new Escondido ballpark; Tuesday elections could determine fate of Bevos; Bevos to Tucson for 2011; Escondido ballpark vote delayed after pollution found at site; Fate of Bevos in the air until November, maybe December; Padres pitch one-sided lease to Escondido; Escondido: Show us some money, Padres; Escondido in, San Marcos out of Bevos ballpark mix
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.
|< Prev||Next >|