Among the reasons given for El Paso City Council moving quickly on a deal to bring Triple-A baseball to the Sun City: competition.
Boise, Idaho, was one city on a short list of cities reportedly pursuing the Tucson Padres, a Triple-A baseball affiliate that was preparing to leave Arizona following a two-year pact. Representatives from Boise tell ABC-7 interest in a Triple-A franchise never truly materialized.
According to Sean Olson, a staff writer for the Idaho Business Review, the only inkling of interest was reported as rumors attributed to Jim Paul. Paul, the former owner of the El Paso Diablos, recently spoke on behalf of the city in rallying for the ballpark.
"The only information about Boise being interested in Triple-A actually came out of El Paso," said Olson, who reported that Paul claimed Bill Pereira was leading a group of investors to pursue a Triple-A franchise. "Mr. Pereira denied that that was what he was doing."
City Representative Steve Ortega said he still believes Boise had their sights set on a Triple-A franchise. Regardless, Ortega said the only move was to jump on the deal quickly.
"If we would have said, 'You know what, owners? We're going to wait until November to decide what the voters say,' there is no guarantee that the current owners of the team were going to wait five, six or seven months to make their decision," said Ortega.
Of the six council members who voted to bring baseball to El Paso, four responded to a question whether the new information would have changed their vote back in June. None of the four members believed the information would have swayed their votes. Some cited the need for a quick decision, others cited other cities that were reportedly interested.
As for Boise, a sports complex is being vetted. A 35-page document was published recently about a ballpark being built in downtown Boise. It hasn't been backed financially. However, it's expected to house the Boise Hawks, a Single-A baseball franchise that is already located in Boise.
"The stadium we are trying to build here in Boise is being met with very, very limited success," said Olson. "It would be between $20-$25 million, which would not be the size to facilitate a baseball team in Triple-A."
El Paso is looking to spend around $50 million for a ballpark to house a major league franchise recently purchased by MountainStar Sports.