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Report: Sky Sox owners set to discuss plans to move team to San Antonio

March 31, 2016 Updated: April 1, 2016 at 7:35 am
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Could Security Service Field in Colorado Springs become the home to a rookie league team? (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

The Sky Sox ownership group will meet with San Antonio's city council next week to discuss the possibility of moving the Triple-A team out of Colorado Springs.

The appearance from the Elmore Sports Group will be part of a process that could see the team leave the city after 28 years if San Antonio invests in a downtown ballpark to make the jump from Double-A to Triple-A.

"If the City of San Antonio, the 37th largest TV market in the country calls and says they would like to talk about a downtown stadium and the possibility of bringing Triple A Baseball to San Antonio," the Sky Sox said in a statement, "it would be imprudent as business owners not to listen."

The team stressed that no deal has been finalized and the club "certainly has a desire to keep baseball in Colorado Springs."

The Elmore group owns the Double-A San Antonio Missions and the Triple-A Sky Sox.

Speculation has been strong since a report surfaced early this year that the Elmore group expressed interest in moving the Missions from San Antonio into a voter-approved stadium in Amarillo, Texas. The next move would be to build a new venue in San Antonio that would house the Sky Sox, which plays at Security Service Field in northeast Colorado Springs.

The Sky Sox have finished 12th or lower in attendance in the 16-team Pacific Coast League 10 times in 11 years.

"This is a process, there is no deal in place, no downtown ballpark and no agreement of any kind with any city," the Sky Sox said. "We don't know frankly what is going to happen at this point but if or when discussions do take place they would be the beginning of the process, not the end. And if anything were to materialize from the discussions it would be well off into the distant future."

The Elmores have owned the Sky Sox organization since 1981. They moved the team from Hawaii to Colorado Springs in 1988.

The Sky Sox were an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies since the team was added as a Major League Baseball franchise in 1993, but before the 2015 season the Rockies cut ties with the Sky Sox and set up Triple-A operations in Albuquerque. The Sky Sox are now an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Colorado Springs City Council President Merv Bennett said council members have heard nothing about the Sky Sox moving. When a story written by The Gazette in January first outlined the possibility of the team leaving, Bennett said Mayor John Suthers told him there was "no substance" to the report.

"And it kind of ended," he said. "We didn't hear anything more to it."

Bennett said he's had no contact with the Sky Sox or its representatives because the mayor is representing the city in any talks with the team.

"I'd be shocked, and very, very disappointed," if the Sky Sox leave, Bennett said.

"I am a baseball fan," Bennett added. "I go to one or two games a year. I didn't go to any last year. I enjoyed it more when they were part of the Rockies."

A story posted Thursday at SanAntonio.com first reported the Elmore's planned meeting with the San Antonio City Council.

"The Missions are committed to being a partner in a downtown baseball project and are exploring every option available to bring a Triple-A baseball club to San Antonio," San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor told the publication. "However, Minor League Baseball will have to approve any teams moving into or out of our city."

Should a move take place, it is unclear which, if any, team would play in Colorado Springs. The Gazette has stated a case that the Elmores could benefit from moving their short-season Rookie League team in Helena, Mont., to the city.

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Gazette reporter Rich Laden contributed to this report.

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