View Full Version : What Does AAA Baseball in Reno Mean for the Silver Sox?

08-08-2007, 05:22 PM
First of all, has the AAA stadium been finalized in Reno? Are the Tucson Sidewinders moving there for sure at this point?

If Reno does get AAA baseball, what will that mean for the Silver Sox? Will they stay and compete head-to-head for the same fans in the same market, will they move, or will they fold?

08-08-2007, 09:26 PM
Hello OneBetter,

No the Triple-A stadium has not yet been finalized in Reno. It's been on the drawing board now for about 8 years, but has picked up a bit of steam this summer due to the pending expiration of the ability to use rental car tax funds to help fund the ballpark -- although the amount would be woefully short of the estimated $50-$70M that new AAA ballparks have been costing lately. There is a last-ditch effort by a new ownership group that has a letter of intent to acquire the Tucson Sidewinders -- although their price for the Sidewinders if they don't move the team is much less than if they move it to Reno or anywhere else.

This new ownership group has an October deadline to have a AAA team purchased and an approved and funded development deal for a stadium in Washoe County. If they don't have those two items accomplished, the rental car tax funds can be used for other purposes and there are a number of interested parties inlcuding the Silver Sox and University to improve Peccole Park, a minor hockey league to have an arena built, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and Equestrian Center to improve their facility and many others.

Even if all the obstacles can be worked out by the October deadline by the AAA group, it is still a multi-year process to complete the purchase and build the stadium. City officials estimate that it would be 2010 at best before an opening game could occur, and perhaps later.

In the meantime, the Silver Sox are doing well and picking up momentum with fans and sponsors and will continue to provide Reno exciting minor league baseball. If AAA does accomplish all the tasks to come to Reno, we'll look at the existing options at that time, which could include continuing to play, or partnering with the new team to transition the team name, sponsors, and season ticket holders as has been done in many markets in the past.

You can send me an email or give me a call if you'd like to discuss in more detail.

Best Regards,
Kevin Outcalt
Golden Baseball League

08-15-2007, 03:13 AM
Wouldn't surprise me a bit if the two teams switched places whenever the new stadium in Reno is done. Tucson will have two spring training sites - the D-backs/White Sox dual facility and the older ballpark where Colorado trains. The Sox are leaving but the facility is still there. So with the AAA team leaving, there's two big-league level stadiums sitting bare all summer.

If the Tucson AAA team does move to Reno, that leaves a pretty big market bare for the GBL to occupy in the same geographical region where most of the GBL teams already are, the far Southwest. No way Reno supports two teams and Yuma already has a team, so Tucson is a logical partner.

The GBL tried two teams in Phoenix at the start, but Phoenix has too many 'big league' teams for people to notice the GBL. Tucson doesn't have that problem, the GBL would be the only game in town as far as pro teams.

I don't know that much about Tucson, but it seems to be a big enough town that a GBL team could make it. If Yuma can, why not Tucson?

From what I read, the Reno deal is a cash machine for the new Tucson owners, so if it can get done it probably will by the October deadline. And of course, deadlines can always be renegotiated.

So why not switch the two - when the AAA team moves to Reno, move the GBL team to Tucson. Gotta figure the travel would be about the same for the SoCal GBL teams.

Just my two cents.

Silver Sox Fan
08-15-2007, 01:20 PM

That is an interesting idea and it is a good one. Tucson will be an untapped market for a city that has had pro baseball for decades. And the GBL would be able to get a nice, downtown stadium (Hi Corbett) and not have to be in a college stadium. Not sure if the lease would be do-able but it would be a great step in demonstrating the GBL could stand on its own. We all have seen/read about the problems they have with college stadiums and being a second class citizen who has little to no say in concessions, parking, fees, etc. and we have seen how quickly it can go south (i.e. San Diego). I am not going to point fingers at the GBL or the colleges, but it would be nice to have exclusive use of a stadium during the season.

To make it viable some things would have to happen. I think the league will need 8-10 teams when the move is completed and they should be equally distributed to make 2 four- or five-team divisions. That may be a stretch for viable markets up North since Chico is not going away and will be the hub of a Northern Division. Redding, Bend, and Grand Junction (which have been mentioned in the past) will not make a very clean Northern Division so other markets would have to be explored. But assumung CO doesn't come in at this time, and the limit of the Southern Division is say San Jose, it would work great. Central Valley is also a market, but just about any city of any size already has an affiliated team. So maybe the expensive markets north of there could be an option such as Davis, Vacaville, etc.

As for the Southern Division, a LB, OC, STG, YUM, and TUC division would be awesome with the farthest distance being about 7.5 hours within the division. Even if a team in that division folds but the league can replace it with an new Surf Dawgs team in North County or even in a city up I-15, the net amount of travel would be about the same.

With that alignment, scheduling should be easier with more division play to cut down on travel expenses and time. Then, off days could be placed strategically to make the 14.5 hour bus ride from Chico to Tucson feasible; if they only swung through once or twice a year and just did a 7-10game road trip each time with off days on either side that would be perfect. Scheduling is one of the hardest things to do but it actually gets easier with a balanced schedule (i.e. same amount of home games which we didn't have this time), more teams, and a division heavy schedule.

Of course, the GBL has to take markets as they come and has lost others each year. So I doubt it would ever be this clean. But one can hope!

08-20-2007, 07:45 PM
The Reno City Council did approve two sites for the stadium last week - I don't know if that's the final hurdle, but it sure sounds like the place is going to get built. From what I read in the Reno paper, if they don't build the stadium, the city loses $24 million in funding - it just disappears. Not sure if I read that right, but it sure sounded like it.

Go Sidewi... um.. Reno Whatevers.

08-22-2007, 01:23 AM
Start packing for Tucson because Reno will be a AAA city in 2009. Its nice that the GBL folks are repeating the same line over and over but if they actually cared about the community and baseball in general they would be happy to see the Sidewinders come to town.