Triple-A Baseball is returning to Tucson after a two year hiatus with the help of the Pima County Sports & Tourism Authority and the San Diego Padres. It was announced today that the San Diego Padres Triple-A team will call the Old Pueblo home for at least one year while they await a decision from the Escondido City Council on the construction of a new stadium.
Until 2009, Triple-A Baseball had an illustrious history of 39 years in Tucson. The Tucson Toros began play in 1969 at Hi Corbett Field. The Tucson franchise moved to Reno for the 2009 PCL season.
The team is coming to Tucson from Portland. Beavers owner Merritt Paulson is selling the team to an ownership group headed by Padres owner Jeff Moorad. The transaction is pending based on the necessary confirmations from the Pacific Coast League and Minor League Baseball.
“My ownership group is looking forward to the San Diego Padres’ Triple-A affiliate playing in Tucson for the 2011 season,” said Padres Vice Chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad. “We thank the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority and the Tucson region for hosting the team as we continue the process of determining the best long-term home for our Triple-A club.”
Mike Feder, current Executive Director of the PCSTA and former General Manager of the Toros and Sidewinders from 1989 – 2000, will operate the team. He has completed a management agreement with the Padres which will include Tucson investors. The local investors will be announced in the near future, as well as the name of the team.
Feder said “This is déjà vu all over again! I’m thrilled to be a part of Tucson Triple-A Baseball once again. Even though this agreement is being announced as a minimum of a one year deal, it’s important as a community that we show the Pacific Coast League that we are a viable market for the next team that might look to relocate. So many Tucsonans travel to San Diego for the summer so this will be a natural fit. I personally want to thank the Padres for their desire to play here next season. It’s nice that something in the sports world returns to Tucson. I hope that a positive Spring Training announcement is soon to follow.”
Jack Donovan will be joining Feder in the front office, giving the team over 19 years of Tucson Triple-A GM experience. Jack also was the Tucson Spring Training Director of Operations for the Diamondbacks and White Sox for four years.
The Pima County Sports & Tourism Authority is currently in negotiations with Pima County for the lease of Tucson Electric Park for the 2011 season on behalf of the Triple-A team. An anticipated positive conclusion to these discussions is expected shortly.