The Tucson Padres and the Pacific Coast League announced Tuesday, July 10 the return of Triple-A baseball for the 2013 season at Kino Stadium, according to a team news release.
Tucson was originally considered a one-year plan, but 2013 will mark the third consecutive year of providing Triple-A professional baseball in Pima County.
"We are thrilled to announce we will be back next year," said Mike Feder, Tucson Padres Vice President and General Manager in a news release. "Not a day goes by that I'm not asked about next season on the concourse at games. It's nice to finally give our fans an answer. We are now pleased to be able to offer this positive news."
"This also gives us great enthusiasm for the remainder of this season, with our fans coming to the ballpark knowing they will be back in 2013," Feder went on to say. "It was always our goal to provide quality family entertainment at affordable prices and we will continue to do so."
"The Tucson ballclub is a historic member of the league and once again has demonstrated that it can perform successfully as a place we can count on for a quality field, a quality operation and good connectivity to other PCL markets," said Branch B. Rickey, the President of the Pacific Coast League.
Just the day before, Feder had said at a news conference that they would try and keep the team through the 2014 season.
If the team stays for the 2014 season that could affect plans to have the team start playing in El Paso that season if the team's sale and move to El Paso is approved by the Pacific Coast League.
The El Paso group hoping to purchase the Triple-A Baseball Tucson Padres made a presentation on July 6 in Dallas to the Executive Committee of the Pacific Coast League of Minor League Baseball.
MountainStar Sports Group is the group trying to buy the team. The owner of the Tucson Padres has already OK'd the purchase of the team by MountainStar Sports Group.
"We spent a very productive three hours with the Pacific Coast League today," Joshua Hunt said in a news release. "We believe we made a positive, compelling case for El Paso as a viable Triple-A Baseball market, and we hope for a favorable response."
Joshua Hunt said that the Pacific Coast League and Minor League Baseball do not decide immediately on whether or not a team can be purchased and moved.
"We believe we thoroughly addressed all of the League's questions, and presented the many good attributes of our City," Joshua Hunt said. "As we have done throughout this effort, we respect the process of the League and Minor League Baseball and will wait for that process to take its course."
A company associated with MountainStar Sports Group has registered elpasopadres.com, which could be a clue that the Tucson Padres' Triple-A club will be the team coming to El Paso. The Tucson Padres play in the Pacific Coast League.
Internet registration records show that elpasopadres.com was registered on June 7, 2012 by Franklin Mountain Management.
Scott Weaver and Paul L. Foster, both officers with MountainStar Sports Group, also are managers with Franklin Mountain Management, according to state records. Local millionaire Woody Hunt also is an officer with MountainStar Sports Group.
The morning of July 6 the El Paso Padres website showed the silhouette of a baseball player and the star on the mountain in the sky without the mountain. By that afternoon the page no longer showed the image and was just an orange page.
Franklin Mountain Management also has registered elpasobaseball.com. It was registered in 2004, the same year that affiliated baseball left El Paso when the Diablos were moved to Missouri.
Elpasobaseball.com showed the same baseball player and star image as the El Paso Padres website until the afternoon of July 6.
El Paso City representatives on June 26 debated the merits of approving the proposed baseball stadium on the site of the current City Hall. The measure passed by a vote of 6-2.
To make way for ballpark opening by spring of 2014, City Hall would have to be demolished by early 2013 with a 14-month construction schedule.
Projected cost of the ballpark would be no more than $50 million. The scoreboard would cost nearly a million dollars alone.