POSTED: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 1:22pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 1:23pm
El Paso, TX — Today’s Ballpark Groundbreaking Ceremony marked the launch of construction of what will be El Paso’s brand new, state-of-the-art Triple-A ballpark facility in the City’s downtown. More than 500 people attended the groundbreaking festivities, culminated with a confetti cannon burst and traditional ballpark music to set the tone for the family fun and excitement that can be expected of Triple-A ballgames, set to begin play in April 2014. Attendees included City, County, State and national dignitaries, representatives of both El Paso and other nearby communities including Ciudad Juárez; leadership from Minor League Baseball, the Pacific Coast League, and the San Diego Padres; members from El Paso’s Triple-A Baseball team’s owner group; those involved with the construction and design of the ballpark; leadership from local business, civic, and charitable organizations; and members of the general public.
“This is an exciting day for the Sun City. Today we are seeing progress and growth in the form of a brand new facility that will change the face of our City’s downtown and anchor the exciting projects which are revitalizing El Paso,” said Mayor of El Paso John Cook. “A great asset is gained for our City with this ballpark, and I want to thank the El Pasoans who are investing in our community and bringing us a Triple-A baseball team.”
Josh Hunt, a member of MountainStar Sports Group, the owner group for El Paso’s Triple-A team, joined Mayor Cook in celebrating El Paso’s progress and downtown revitalization: “Already there is a palpable energy around our downtown’s growth, and that energy will only continue to gain momentum and strength as we come closer to Opening Day in April 2014. Years from now, we can all remember that today, we celebrated a historic moment in our City’s evolution.”
Alejandra de la Vega Foster, also a member of MountainStar Sports Group, delivered remarks in Spanish for event guests and Spanish-language media from the neighboring city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. “Not only will El Paso’s Triple-A ballpark be one of the newest and most modern, but we are the only one on an international border,” she observed.
“This ballpark is an asset to our bi-national community – something for everyone to enjoy, for ballgames of course, but for so many other celebrations and events as well. We are thrilled that it will be so close and easily accessible to Juarenses to come enjoy the games and other events,” added Mrs. De la Vega Foster.
During the program, emceed by local El Paso sports radio personality Steve Kaplowitz, a video was presented showcasing renderings of the El Paso Ballpark, footage of action and fan fun from Triple-A ballgames, examples of other events to be hosted here, and interviews with local El Pasoans about their excitement for a Triple-A team and new ballpark.
Also in attendance were key leadership from baseball organizations including Minor League Baseball, the Pacific Coast League – of which the El Paso Triple-A team will be a part – as well as representation from the Front Office of the San Diego Padres.
“Right here where we sit today, memories will be made and good times will be had by El Pasoans of all ages,” said Branch Rickey, President of the Pacific Coast League. “We've seen great things happen in communities with Triple-A teams, and we are confident El Paso will experience the same. The PCL and Minor League Baseball look forward to being an important part of your City.”
Pat O’Conner, President and CEO of Minor League Baseball, agreed with Mr. Rickey that all signs point toward great success for Triple-A baseball in El Paso: “We believe as a City, El Paso has the right attributes for Triple-A success. After much research, several visits, and many presentations and meetings, the PCL, Minor League Baseball, and Major League Baseball approved El Paso and the ownership group. We all agreed – El Paso has the potential to be an outstanding, long-term home for a Triple-A Baseball team.”
Fred Uhlman Jr., Vice President and Assistant General Manager for the San Diego Padres was in attendance for the festivities. “Our players in El Paso will be one step away from playing at the Major League level. On any given night fans may see a player who could have a positive impact for us in San Diego. With that in mind, today is a great day for El Paso’s team, and for the San Diego Padres. Not only will our players be in one of the newest, most innovative ballparks in the nation, but they will have a new home with a community that we are all confident will embrace and support them from game one,” added Mr. Uhlman.
The El Paso Triple-A team’s new General Manager Brad Taylor, announced just last week, gave remarks, followed by President of MountainStar Sports Group, Alan Ledford, who thanked and acknowledged the many groups and individuals that worked together to achieve this groundbreaking moment. He reminded the crowd of the spirit of Triple-A baseball: “There is something very special about Triple-A Baseball – while you see the quality of play you would see in the Major Leagues, there is less formality – it is much more of an environment centered around the fans. From experience I will tell you: you will enjoy yourself, and you and your kids will be able to get close to the players, and close to the game.”
After the actual groundbreaking, guests were invited to take their own groundbreaking photographs, and were handed commemorative items to remind them of this special day.
“I just can’t wait to get to a game,” said five-year-old Jocelynn Custard who plays on the Little Jaggers Little League baseball team. “It’s hard to tell now, but I know it’s going to be awesome.”