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Reno, Nevada - the self-proclaimed “Biggest Little City in the World” - is this much closer to landing an existing PCL team. If this were six months ago, the Rainiers would be number one on the list of possibilities; as it is they qualify as number three. According to the story in the Reno Gazette-Journal, a New York-based ownership group has contracted to purchase and move an unknown team to Reno. A new stadium would be built and finished by 2009. The new ownership group - which includes current Indiana Pacer owner Herb Simon - has a confidentiality agreement with the current owners of the unknown team, and that won’t be released until the deal is finalized.

So who is it? No Rhubarb! runs down the suspects.

1. Nashville Sounds The Sounds currently play in the aging and somewhat dilapidated Herschel Greer Stadium, famous for the guitar-shaped scoreboard. After talks for a new riverfront stadium fell through, the Sounds are the runaway leader for team most likely to move.

2. Las Vegas 51s Las Vegas just seems like an odd place to put a minor-league team, while Vegas seems to be concentrating on attracting a major league team (probably basketball, but the Florida Marlins are always looking for a new home), the 51s seem like a neglected stepchild. Cashman Field doesn’t measure up to the revenue a new Reno park could generate.

3. Tacoma Rainiers Again, if this were 9 months ago - before the Schlegel Sports Group took over - the Rainiers would be the leader in this group. While we love Cheney Stadium, it is the oldest non-renovated park in the PCL. PGE Park in Portland and Isotopes Park in Albuquerque are built over the bones of older parks, but both have been completely rebuilt. We would like to think that Schlegel is committed to the South Sound, but they would be nuts not to listen to Reno.

The Rest:Omaha Royals (problems with Rosenblatt Stadium, but the team is a Nebraska landmark); Tucson Sidewinders (the team never really recovered from the major league D’Backs and the switch between Toros and Sidewinders); New Orleans Zephyrs (Zephyr Park is fairly new and very nice, but everything in New Orleans has to be considered questionable)
This is nothing but speculation, we have no inside information. Do we think the Rainiers are going to move? No, but the fact remains that Cheney Stadium doesn’t measure up to other PCL ballparks. It will need to be renovated or replaced before too long


  1. Ben Cheney said...
    The Rainiers new ownership has done some great things around the ballpark in regards to complimentary programs, gold club upgrade (expensive) and additional concession improvements.


    Little or no community involvement.

    Community fund, silent auctions, golf tournament, ect....

    No SGA's and no Game Worn Jersey nights, used car night, ect.....

    No Season Ticket Holder events.

    Pretty much just fireworks and zooperstars.......

    Might have held back in regards to long term stadium funding before ramping this part of the marketing up to speed.

    Might have some in the works, still early in the season. Guess time will tell.
    Ben Cheney said...
    Rainier fans can all but help pack up the gear, as the Rainier's won't be here in 2009 if funding is not found for a complete overhaul of Cheney Stadium.

    Branch Rickey isn't a fan of Cheney Stadium, it's proximity to downtown, or the city in general.

    2.5M additional funding from the state is not going to get this done. Cheney overhaul is a 30 million dollar project 15/15 from public & private money. Private money makes no sense unless there is a revenue model/share in place, or comes from entities simply donating for the betterment of the community.

    There are several sources that support the following, here's a glance of what's being said, and who the players are.

    Schlegel Group - Quietly meeting with Dallas city officials regarding a new ballpark being built there and scheduled to open in 2009.

    Keep in mind the current lease on Cheney Stadium (between the city of tacoma, and george foster, previous owner) runs through 2008 with a (2) year option.

    The Texas Rangers have final veto power in regards to the Dallas market, and under normal circumstances would hesitate to agree to a AAA team there. However, a deal with Schlegel would involve Real Estate development projects in or around the stadium site, and current Schlegel group VP Bob McCall was the President/GM of the Frisco AA team of the Rangers owned by Ranger owner Tom Hicks. The club is managed by Mandalay Sports. The format of this arrangement would be one of multiple revenue sources, cross marketing, and close proximity for call up to the parent club from AAA.

    Reno/Sparks - Lead group has secured initial agreement to purchase undisclosed AAA team. Most consider the Tucson Sidewinders, as they have been quietly offered for sale the past 2-3 years prior to winning the PCL crown in 2006.

    1. Schlegel group moves the Rainiers after 2008 season, sign Player Development contract with Texas Rangers.

    Tucson moves to Reno/Sparks. Padres sign Player Development contract with Reno/Sparks.

    The Mariners sign Player Development contract with Portland, Oregon ownership,(great cross marketing, short travel to Safeco).

    The Diamondbacks sigh Player Development contract with Oklahoma,(former Ranger AAA club). Or, multiple affiliation changes could occur landing Diamondbacks in another city.

    2. Schlegel group sells the Rainiers. Purchases the Tucson Sidewinders, Moves the Sidewinders to Dallas, signs Player Development contract with Texas Rangers.

    Reno/Sparks group purchases the Raniers, moves franchise to Reno/Sparks, signs Player Development contract with the Padres.

    Mariners sign Player Development contract with Portland, Oregon ownership.

    Diamondbacks sign Player Development contract with Oklahoma, or multiple affiliation changes land them in a different city.

    Bottom line is simple. Cheney Stadium goes through a complete renovation or Tacoma's 47 year run in the PCL is history.

    If this happens, the best we can hope for is short season A ball in the Northwest League.

    In the meantime, enjoy Cheney Stadium and the talents of the Rainiers roster. Great place to watch a ballgame, enjoy it while it's still here!

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