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David Ramsey: Sky Sox's future in Colorado Springs remains highly hazy

April 20, 2017 Updated: April 21, 2017 at 9:16 am
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Pitcher Josh Hader, right, and third baseman Ivan De Jesus run onto the field for the start of their game against Omaha Thursday, April 6, 2017, at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Sky Sox won the season opener 2-1. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

The Class AAA version of the Sky Sox may be staying on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs, or it may be going. Nobody knows, not even the Elmores, and they own the franchise.

The encouraging news: The team is winning on the field, off to the best start in the franchise's history in the Springs.

The discouraging news: The Elmores continue to shop the AA version of the Sky Sox to destinations around the country. I don't see any end to the shopping, and the Elmores have declined to speak clearly about their intentions for the Springs.

General manager Tony Ensor is left in a complicated corner. He's trying to sell tickets for a thriving team while also seeking to avoid questions about the still-hazy future status of the AAA version of the Sky Sox.

"I really feel that baseball is going to be around here for a long time and that the Sky Sox are going to be here for a long time," Ensor said Thursday.

Notice, he didn't say the AAA version of the Sky Sox would remain.

"I can't predict the future," he said, "but I know where we are now."

A year ago, the Elmores went all in on a bid to move the franchise to a downtown stadium in San Antonio. At the time, momentum seemed on the side of the Elmores.

San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor was clearly enthusiastic about building the stadium. But taxpayers in San Antonio weren't buying in. The San Antonio plan is stalled, maybe on its way to being deceased.

I understand why San Antonio tempts the Elmores. San Antonio is America's 7th largest city and 25th largest metro area. Colorado Springs is 41st and 80th.

San Antonio is surrounded by Pacific Coast League teams, which means the Elmores' costs would shrink while revenues drawn from a bigger population base would rise, and maybe even multiply.

The Elmores, based in greater Los Angeles, have no ties and no deep loyalties to Colorado Springs, where they are seldom seen.

I requested an interview with one of the Elmores. I wanted to give one of them the chance to clarify. I'm still waiting for the call.

The Elmores' clearly stated desire to move to San Antonio started a well-deserved public relations disaster in the Springs.

The Sky Sox, in an instant, transformed into The Lame Ducks.

The Elmores added fuel to the disaster by announcing they planned to move their short-season Pioneer League team to Colorado Springs from Montana, if the AAA franchise departed for San Antonio.

Such a move would rank as an insult to baseball fans in the Pikes Peak Region, roughly the equivalent of the Broncos moving to San Antonio and replacing the football show with an Arena League team. Watching Air Force Academy baseball would be, and maybe will be, a better option than watching a Pioneer League team.

The Elmores are adding needed touches to Security Service Field with new lights along with a much larger scoreboard with a high-def screen.

Baseball, Ensor keeps saying, will remain on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs far into the future.

But here's the problem, and it's a big one:

We have no clue if it will be the AAA version or the supremely watered-down Pioneer League version.