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Tucson fans hold out hope Triple-A team won't leave for El Paso

By Paul Cicala
Published On: Jul 31 2012 09:12:05 PM CDT
Updated On: Feb 10 2014 02:05:04 PM CST

ABC-7 Travels To Southern Arizona To Get Reaction On Triple A Team Potentially Leaving Tucson For El Paso

TUCSON, Arizona -

Maria Brown cheers her heart out at every Tucson Padres game. Soon, she could have no team to cheer for.

The Tucson area is home to about a million people, a slightly larger population than El Paso.

But the Triple-A baseball team in the Old Pueblo hasn't been drawing big crowds.

"Let's go Tucson Padres!" Brown shouted during a recent game in Tucson. She's sad to see her hometown team potentially lose its pro baseball squad to El Paso 2014.

"We would like them to stay here and not go to El Paso," said Brown. "Coming and watching the games with the Padres here, and just finding out that they may be leaving is really sad because Tucson is a baseball community."

Nicolle Ximenna Perez, 10, agrees.

"I'm sad the Tucson Padres are going to El Paso," Nicolle said. Nicolle is just one of thousands of kids who anxiously attend Tucson Padres games each week, "because I get to spend time with my papi, and my family, and it's just really fun."

Brian Townsend has been attending minor league baseball games in Tucson since he was a kid.

"If the Padres leave, what else will we have?"

The answer to that question - the City of Tucson would have a state of the art, multi-million dollar ballpark in Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, but with no pro team.

It's not as if Tucson doesn't have the facilities to support a Triple-A baseball team. In the past, the Major League's Chicago White Sox and the Arizona D'backs suited up in the same ballpark for spring training every season.

Now, those teams train permanently in Phoenix, leaving the Triple-A Padres as the only pro baseball team in Tucson.

"If they're gone, they're gone," Townshend said. "It'll be sad for us, but what can we do?"

Tucson Padres General Manager Mike Feder said "We're not just going to throw up our hands and say, okay, we give up. We won't do that. We're going to keep fighting to get triple A baseball to stay in this community as long as we can."

For now, the Tucson Padres will stay in Southern Arizona through 2013.

After that, if things go as planned for the future ownership group in the Sun City and proposed $50 million stadium in Downtown El Paso, the team could be in El Paso for the 2014 season.

"It's a lesson to learned. I think we should be able to draw a better crowd (in Tucson). I think the Padres would feel a little more appreciated," Brown said.

Brown said El Pasoans need to learn from the mistakes made by fans in Tucson who failed to fill the stands.

"If they do go to El Paso, the people need to go out to support them," said Brown.
Nicolle Ximenna said "I'm devastated to see my team leave, but, that's life. We live and we learn."

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