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Minor League Baseball returns to Amarillo, Texas: Triple A baseball coming to San Antonio

On Wednesday, the Elmore Sports Group shook up the minor league baseball landscape in the Lone Star State.

Starting with the 2019 season, the San Antonio Missions will advance a level to play their games in Triple-A Baseball. The Texas League franchise that is currently in San Antonio will play its games in Amarillo, Texas beginning with the 2019 season.

The Double-A Missions will play their final season in the Texas League in 2018. Upon the rise to Triple-A in 2019, the Missions will continue to be led by President Burl Yarbrough and his staff, as they have been for the previous 30 seasons.

The current Double-A San Antonio franchise will move into a brand new $45.5 million stadium in downtown Amarillo at the beginning of the 2019 season. Amarillo has been without an affiliated minor league baseball team since the Amarillo Gold Sox left the city in 1982.

“We’re very confident it will be a success in Amarillo for two reasons. First, it’s the initial support we’ve seen and we also feel like we’ve got a pretty good feel for what’s going on in a market this size and ways to attack that market.

“We’re confident of the people we have in place to build a culture of going to a baseball game, that it’s all about building a culture in a community where families think about what to do on a spring and summer evening and one of the first things they think of is, ‘Hey, let’s go to the ball game’,” D.G. Elmore, group chairman for the Elmore Sports Group, said.

“This is a win for Amarillo, and as a city, we’re thirsty for a win.

"This gives us something to be unified behind and something to have fun together doing. It will be a quality of life addition to our city and region.

“We’ve had our head down quite a bit here in the city limits lately, and I really want to use this as an opportunity to lift our eyes up and think more regionally because we are the leader in the Panhandle region," Amarillo mayor Ginger Nelson said.

The Elmore Sports Group is expected to sign a 20-30 year stadium lease with the city of Amarillo.

“People will debate if this is a good deal or not. It’s the best deal in the (Texas) League, and that speaks for itself.

“Now some of those lease payments go to have money to make facility enhancements in the future, so it doesn’t go purely to debt service.

“But it is creating a capital fund other cities have to do on their own. We’ve structured part of the lease payments to go to that fund so we can guarantee stadium upkeep," Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller said.

"I am thrilled to be able to lead the Missions and our fan base into a new era of Professional Baseball in San Antonio," Yarbrough said.

Initially, the Triple-A Missions will continue to play their home games at Nelson Wolff Stadium. "While we have not yet determined what the specific baseball stadium needs are to advance to Triple-A, nor have we secured private sector development partners or a stadium development plan, we will begin that process immediately," Yarbrough added.

"Congratulations to the San Antonio Missions for advancing to Triple-A."

"San Antonio has a long and rich history, and this move takes us to the next level. We have a good relationship with the Missions owner, the Elmore Sports Group, and have had discussions with them about bringing a Triple-A team to San Antonio.

"We understand that Wolff Stadium has been approved for Triple-A play in the short run. As far as any new stadium is concerned, the Elmore Sports Group has not yet presented the city with a stadium development plan that includes a private investment team, nor has a specific site been selected for a new stadium development.

"Until we see all of that, I have no further comment. We look forward to hearing more about their plans in the near future," San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

All of the moves are contingent upon final approval from Minor League Baseball, the Pacific Coast League, and Texas League where appropriate.

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