Editor’s note: This one doesn’t quite qualify as fastpitch news, but we thought we’d share it nonetheless. San Diego, California seems to be in the spotlight this week. Just yesterday, we posted the story of the ASA’s announcement moving the Girls 18U Gold National Championship to Sportsplex, at Santee, California, just up the road from San Diego. Today, another San Diego county city is in the news, as Escondido announced approval of a new ballpark for a AAA MiLB team.
Escondido is located on the I-15 corridor, about a half hour north east of downtown San Diego. Just south of Escondido, on the road to San Diego are the two Sportsplex complexes, in Poway, and Santee.
From Baseball Digest:
ESCONDIDO APPROVES NEW BEVOS/PADRES BALLPARK
Jeff Moorad got the hint that he needed to apply a lighter touch to negotiations with Escondido (Cal.) officials over a proposed Triple-A ballpark, and he was rewarded last night when the City Council gave initial approval for a $50-million deal — subsequent to future negotiations.
When the San Diego Padres owner and crew approached the city for a deal, they presented perhaps the most one-sided lease agreement we’ve ever seen, putting no money up front and receiving all ballpark revenues along with land for development. Since then the Padres braintrust backed off that proposal, offering to cover overruns and contributing money up front. It was good enough to sway skeptical councilors, who voted 4-1 last night to move forward with the ballpark deal for 2012.
Still, the Council signaled it will need more changes before construction actually begins next year: they want more money from the Moorad group as well as a share of revenues from concessions and naming rights. Technically, the Council didn’t actually approve the lease agreement: it directed the city to use the contract as a “template” for further negotiations.
We’re not sure if some of the changes sought by the city really are deal-breakers; Moorad has shown flexibility in recent weeks and would come out looking like a hero if he gave in to a few changes. His reps indicated they were willing to talk, and he’s optimistic enough that he’s moving forward on the purchase of the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), slated to close on Monday. The team will play in Tucson for the next two seasons while the Escondido ballpark is under construction.
San Diego county has long been a sports involved area of California. On the map below, starting just north of the USA/Mexico border is the Olympic Training Facility in Chula Vista, where Team USA Softball trains; downtown San Diego, of course, home to MLB’s San Diego Padres, at Petco Park; nearby San Diego State University, where the women’s fastpitch team is on the rise, with assistant coach (and former Long Beach Nitehawk and Vista Bomber) Steve Miner; home to longtime intermediate fastpitch team San Diego Fastpitch (SCIFL); further north are the two Sportsplex facilities, in Santee (home of the California Classic), and Poway; further north is Escondido, home to former ISC pitchers Cary Weiler (Long Beach Nitehawks, Vista Bombers), and Russ Snow (Vista Bombers, Larry Miller Toyota Long Beach Painters); back towards the ocean from Escondido is Vista, former home to the Vista Bombers, which played there in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, including yours truly, 1983-85, and 1990-1993.