EL PASO, Texas - In 100 days, the El Paso Chihuahuas are scheduled to open their new Downtown Ballpark.
But there are concerns the more than $70 million stadium may not be substantially completed in time for the opening homestand on April 11th.
No one disagrees there will still be work to be done on the Ballpark after the opener, but whether it will be ready for baseball in a hundred days is still up in the air.
The shell of El Paso's Ballpark is almost complete. The final beams are being lowered into place and lots of concrete is being poured.
"There's a lot of work to be done," said Chihuahuas General Manager Brad Taylor, who admitted he doesn't expect a completed Ballpark to be turned over to the El Paso Chihuahuas in April. "The offices are the last thing we want completed. We want them to get everything done for the guests we're going to have watching these games and for the team that needs to play there. We can move over later."
The first pitch at El Paso's new Ballpark is scheduled to be thrown on April 11th. However, the contract between the city and the construction companies states the Ballpark doesn't have to be "substantially completed" until on or before April 28th.
"That could be anything that's called substantial completion," Taylor said when asked to explain the different dates. "We could maybe get in there and play a game on April 11th, but if our offices aren't finished, that's not a completion date."
"The ballpark will be ready for baseball in April," said Deputy City Manager Bill Studer, who is overseeing Ballpark construction.
While he said the Ballpark will be ready for baseball in April, when pressed, he wouldn't say whether that's April 11th or April 28th, the beginning of the Chihuahua's second homestand of the 2014 season.
"We'd love to (have it finished by April 11th), but we're talking about four games there versus the rest of their games starting April 28th," Studer said. "So we'll just have to see how that goes."
He said there's a chance the first homestand will have to be played in Tucson.
"There's a chance of a lot of things, but I don't want to speculate on it," Studer said. "We've committed to having baseball played in April and we believe we're on schedule to do that."
Studer clarified that means either April 11th or April 28th.
"That's correct," he said. "That's correct."
Studer said construction penalties won't kick in until April 28th. Back in September, the El Paso Chihuahuas signed a one-month contract to play at Keno Sports Complex in Tucson, if their new Ballpark is not ready by the scheduled opening day
Taylor said despite the conflicting dates, he's still confident the Chihuahuas will open a substantially-completed Ballpark on April 11th.