Potter County Memorial Stadium’s future is in question now that the City of Amarillo is building a new ballpark.
It turns out Potter County may have lost out on a new team for Memorial Stadium all because of the announcement that affiliated baseball is coming back to Amarillo.
The city council approved the lease agreement with the Elmore Sports Group today.
They are relocating the AA San Antonio Missions to the Yellow City to play in the proposed downtown MPEV starting in 2019.
The city approved a 30-year lease with Elmore, meaning they will have a team in Amarillo at least until 2048.
As for the future of Potter County Memorial, the Ventura Sports Group out of Grand Prairie was all set to start a new independent baseball league with Amarillo as one of its inaugural cities. That all changed last week when the city announced an agreement with the AA San Antonio Missions.
Their impending arrival means Amarillo will move forward with plans to construct the multi-purpose event venue.
That would have left the independent team competing not only against affiliated baseball but, also a younger, more attractive ballpark.
Even though Ventura Sports Group has pulled out, San Jacinto Christian Academy still plans to play its home games at the stadium.
However, Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner says their resources are limited and they can’t afford to pay for the renovations needed at the stadium.
Tanner also says she appreciates the history of the stadium but its time is long passed.
“It is a lot of history,” said Judge Tanner. “A lot of history involved. History happened there but, it’s not a historic building.”
Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Joe Pepitone both played here during their minor league careers, but Judge Tanner says that is not enough to justify the expense of keeping the stadium.
As for the Ventura Sports Group, they had planned on a six team league that would’ve included Amarillo with play set to begin next year, but after the announcement that AA baseball is coming, they told county officials it wouldn’t be worth the investment to bring a team to Amarillo for only one year, apparently not wanting to compete with affiliated baseball starting the next year in 2019.
Potter County Memorial Stadium was built in 1949 at a cost of $250-thousand.
It was home to the minor league Amarillo Gold Sox twice before it was finally abandoned in 1982.
Since then, various independent league teams have played there. Most notably, the Amarillo Dillas who won several championships during their time.