June 19, 2013 Updated: June 20, 2013 at 7:52 am
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox minor league baseball franchise is not leaving the city, president and general manager Tony Ensor said.
"There is definitely no chance the Sky Sox will leave Colorado Springs," Ensor said Wednesday. "This is our home. We just celebrated 25 years as a franchise and, God willing, I will be celebrating another 25 more right here."
That was in response to a statement made by Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach to The Gazette editorial board Tuesday when he said he thought the city is in danger of losing the franchise without a new stadium. He has led the charge for a new multiuse downtown building.
"The Rockies have told me directly, and I think they are out there publicly saying, that they are concerned about the physical situation out at Security Service Field for two reasons," Bach said. "One, the wind, particularly the east wind, causes torque on the ball. Second, they lose a lot of games in the early season, because the field is frozen. The stadium is antiquated. It doesn't have enough bathrooms; doesn't have enough concessions; doesn't have cover for bad weather. So, are we at risk of losing the Sky Sox? I think we are."
In September 2011, Rockies' general manager Dan O'Dowd told the Denver Post that weather was a concern.
The Sky Sox have an affiliation agreement with the Rockies through the 2014 season. Ensor said he has heard no complaints from the Rockies, who have had their Triple-A players in Colorado Springs since the franchise's start in 1993. If the Rockies were to sign on elsewhere, another big-league franchise would take their place, Ensor said.
He also said the current ballpark serves the franchise well.
"It's not the newest stadium and it may not have all the modern amenities," Ensor said of the ballpark (8,500 capacity), which was built in 1988 for $3.7 million. "But we own the stadium and have invested $8 million-$9 million in improvements. We have said all along that a downtown stadium would have to benefit the overall community, the Sky Sox and UCCS. If they can figure that out, we would definitely listen to the idea but everything is just discussions now."
Colorado-Colorado Springs is considering adding an NCAA Division II baseball program in several years.
City leaders hope to haul in millions in state tourism dollars for projects that include a U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, a downtown baseball facility, a UCCS medical complex on North Nevada Avenue, and moving the Air Force Academy visitor center off base for easier access.
At Bach's request, the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance and the Sky Sox have emailed surveys to fans and members, asking for input on a possible move.
Gazette reporter Monica Mendoza contributed to this article.