While ballpark developments this week have pleased El Paso baseball fans, they represent bad news for Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) fans, who once again must deal with the loss of affiliated ball.
It's been no secret that the T-Padres were a short-term play at Kino Stadium; Jeff Moorad and crew were working on a new-ballpark plan in Escondido, Cal., even before they signed off on a purchase of the former Portland Beavers. When that fell through and Moorad's purchase of the San Diego Padres fell through, the T-Padres became expendable.
And while the ballpark deal in El Paso isn't 100 percent completed (more on that later this morning), it's close enough that Tucson fans can see the end of the road at the end of 2013. Ideally, a lower league would be willing to look at Tucson, but geography is the enemy, as there are no Class A or Class AA leagues close enough to make an affiliated team possible. GM Mike Feder says some sort of relationship with a Mexican League is possible -- and indeed, the ballpark is hosting a tourney in early October featuring Mexican teams and Padres and Dodgers prospects -- but we probably won't see a return of affiliated ball to Kino Stadium unless another PCL team needs a temporary home.
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