If I can talk about something besides soccer for just a moment, I’ll tie it back into the beautiful game eventually. The San Antonio Express-News posted a troubling article to its website Wednesday. Somehow, a few important members of the San Antonio community have been sold on the idea of bringing AAA baseball to downtown SA.
I’ll be the first to say I love baseball. Back in the days before my son was born, there were few better ways I could think of to joyfully waste four hours of my afternoon. I’ve spent plenty of evenings at Missions games, sometimes even when it wasn’t dollar night. I’ve been to stadiums from Oakland to Tampa and enjoyed every minute of it. Taking the BART train to Oakland Coliseum to see Jason Giambi and driving to (old) Busch to see Mark McGuire were staples of my “man, we move a lot” childhood.
All that said, AAA baseball is not right for San Antonio.
San Antonio is one of the last great untapped markets for MLB. In a time where we’re a
bargaining chip serious contender for an NFL franchise, “upgrading” from AA to AAA doesn’t make sense. If rumors that MLB is considering expansion again in the next few years are true, building a AAA stadium downtown takes SA out of the running for a Major League franchise before the race even begins.
Mayor Ivy Taylor has continuously supported SS&E’s attempt to bring MLS to San Antonio. She believes that San Antonio is ready for a Major League Soccer franchise. Why she would support another minor league team for baseball is inconsistent and confusing.
So where does this leave #MLSinSA?
We’ll have to see the details next week of how this stadium would be financed but it sounds like if the county and city both go in for the AAA stadium, the Toyota Field expansion could still continue as planned. Both stadium plans require voter approval for funding.
What is questionable is how another minor league franchise in SA will look to Don Garber and those who decide which cities will get the last four MLS expansion bids. The Spurs are just as much to blame for the over-saturation of minor league franchises since they own all but one of them, but a civic push for another minor league baseball team doesn’t reflect well on where we see ourselves as a market.
As I said before, I love baseball. I would love nothing more than to see it grow (alongside soccer) in SA. But AAA isn’t the answer. The city deserves more than to be a little-brother to DFW. Aiming for anything less than major league devalues the market at a time where we should be showing MLS and any other leagues that SA is more than just a basketball city.
San Antonio is a major league city. Don’t settle for anything that doesn’t lead to the best.