MLB vice president visited El Paso, toured trauma center as part of vetting process to buy Triple-A team

EL PASO, Texas - A Major League Baseball vice president toured University Medical Center's trauma center this summer as part of the vetting process to see if an El Paso sports group should be allowed to buy the Tucson Padres and move the team to El Paso.

Earnell Lucas, director of Security/Facility Operations for Minor League Baseball, visited the hospital and toured the Sun City in early July during a three-day visit.

"At the major league level, we have a certain agreement with the level 1 trauma center with respect to having at least basic life support at the ballpark," Lucas said during his UMC visit which was captured on a YouTube video. "The standard is a little bit lower at the minor league level but given the proximity (to the stadium) I think there can be a great opportunity for a great relationship."

Lucas was asked by Dr. Alan Tyroch,  UMC's trauma center director, if the requirement for a level trauma 1 center was for the players or for the fans.

"It was initially in place for the fans," Lucas said. "Most of our (player) injuries that come off the field are usually breaks and things of that nature that don't necessarily require a level 1 trauma center. But having said that we had an owners meeting in Arizona in which one of our owners passed away from a cardiac event. So as a result of that baseball put a standard in place as a result of what we learned from that experience."

At the end of the nearly two-minute video Lucas said he had a wonderful stay in El Paso.

Bob Cook, Regional Economic Development Corporation president accompanied Lucas on his tour of El Paso and said it was a thorough visit.

They took a helicopter tour and "looked at everything," according to Cook. They drove by all hospitals, UTEP, and met with different local and federal law enforcement officials.

Lucas looked at community attractiveness, safety and security, demographics, economics, weather, quality of life, and health care.

Cook said it was very similar to visits from other private companies looking to relocate to El Paso.

Lucas also is vice president of educational programming and investigative services for Major League Baseball.

On May 22, it was announced by MLB that Lucas would take over as a liaison between Minor League Baseball and local law enforcement agencies in its member clubs' cities. He also will work with league officials to identify and address security issues and facilitate training for Minor League Baseball players to help increase their personal security awareness.

Prior to joining Major League Baseball in 2002, Lucas worked for 25 years in the Milwaukee Police Department, serving as its captain from 1999-2002. He graduated cum laude from Marquette University with a degree in Criminology and Law Studies. Lucas also holds management certificates from the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy and the Northwestern University Traffic Institute School of Police Staff and Command, at which he was awarded the Franklin Kreml Leadership Award.

MountainStar Sports Group has agreed to purchase the San Diego Padres Triple-A affiliate that currently plays in Tucson.

On Tuesday Josh Hunt, a member of the ownership group, said he'd received an email from the Pacific Coast League telling him the deal would likely only occur if City Council voted to stay on a previously proposed timeline for baseball to be played in Downtown El Paso in 2014.

City Council voted Tuesday to approve building a ballpark in Downtown.

ABC-7 News Director Brenda De Anda Swann contributed to this report

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