A New Landing Spot Emerges For The Missions

Editor’s Note: The story originally incorrectly stated the name of the American Association team playing in Amarillo and should have stated that J. David Nelson was a former city council member. The story has been corrected.

For months, the San Antonio Missions, the Padres’ Double-A affiliate in the Texas League, have been rumored to be on the move. Their new home has long been rumored to be Amarillo, Texas, but now Lubbock appears to have entered the fray.

Amarillo.com reported on Wednesday that a member of the Lubbock city council had approached the Missions with the idea of luring them there in the near future. In the same story, Lubbock mayor Dan Pope also acknowledged that the two sides had been talking.

Amarillo is farther down the road in the process of trying to woo the Missions from San Antonio. The city sought and received a feasibility study from Washington, D.C., firm Brailsford and Dunlavey, which has since been completed. The city, however, according to the San Antonio Business Journal, is not ready to share the results.

“Upon consultation with our legal adviser and the city of San Antonio, Centro San Antonio has decided not to release the downtown ballpark feasibility assessment report at this time,” Centro President and CEO Pat DiGiovanni told the SABJ.

The city also voted in November to approve a potential new stadium at the cost of $48 million.

The Missions were scheduled to make a presentation to the Lubbock city council on Thursday evening, but city council voted 6-1 to delay on action on a plan to bring a team to town. Part of the meeting’s agenda, Amarillo.com reports, involved proposing a tax on hotels and motels that will help fund the potential new ballpark.

J. David Nelson, a former Lubbock city council member, also runs Southpaw Sports & Entertainment, which has a stated goal “to bring minor league baseball to Lubbock and the South Plains.”

Nelson said the Missions are considering, Lubbock, Amarillo and Wichita, Kan., for possible relocation. But San Antonio shouldn’t be without minor league baseball for long. In late March, Baseball America reported that the city had already met with the Elmore Group about relocating the Triple-A team in Colorado Springs, Colo., to San Antonio and becoming a Rangers affiliate. That would precipitate a Missions move, as well as several other changes. In this scenario, the Triple-A Round Rock Express would change affiliates from Rangers to Astros, the Fresno Grizzlies would flip from Astros to Brewers affiliation and would set up a possible move of the Rookie-level Pioneer League club in Helena, Mont. (also owned by the Elmores) into the vacated stadium in Colorado Springs.

Currently, Amarillo is home to the to independent American Association’s Texas Airhogs, which splits its games between Amarillo and Grand Prairie.

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