by Dan Gibson
It looked for a little while like we might be able to hold on to the former Portland Beavers in the long term (as it stands, the club will definitely play here in 2011 and possibly in 2012), since their projected long-term home in Escondido, Calif., hasn't actually been built yet. The city council there was split on whether to absorb the cost of a stadium for a minor league baseball team (possibly learning for our mistakes?), but according to my new favorite website, BallparkDigest.com, it looks like a deal is in the works:
If the ballpark funding does come through, it will be a nice comeback for Jeff Moorad and crew, who have an option to buy the Beavers and initiated the ballpark discussions. When originally brought to Escondido, the ballpark funding proposal was one of the most one-sided we've ever seen presented by a baseball team, calling for Escondido to pay all the costs and the Padres ownership to receive all the revenues. Since then the proposal has morphed, and while it's not quite as one-sided as originally, it's much better for the city: Moorad's group has committed to spending money on local development, agreed to cover cost overruns, and pulled back on its land demands. Most recently the group has promised to book nine non-baseball events, such as concerts or high-school tourneys, to the ballpark in order to draw additional visitors to the city.