Minor league baseball isn’t something you hear about everyday. It’s local, and for some, it’s intimate. Never in the spotlight. However today I want to shine a light on a team that has had a soft spot in my heart since my first time attending a game at Nelson Wolff Stadium: the San Antonio Missions.
As far back as I can remember, my childhood Friday nights were always spent with my sister and grandpa at Missions’ games. When you’re young it’s always a thrill to stay up late. The games wouldn’t end until 10 or 11 pm and we always got to eat McDonald’s afterwards. So these games were my favorite part of every week. The best part of any baseball game, however, is catching a foul ball.
Glove in hand, I would stand in the grass field behind the third-base line bleachers (they’ve since replaced it with a patio area that can be rented for up to 200 persons) with other like-minded fans, waiting for my shot to catch a foul ball. And there were plenty.
I can proudly say that at the ripe age of eight I had already gotten several foul balls (I even caught a pop-up, ONCE). At the same time I had been trampled on, scratched, bruised, and even hyperextended my elbow when an overzealous kid slid into it (as several others were dogpiling on top of me). That was all by age 12.
I remember all of that fondly of course. Back then I didn’t harbor any anger as these occurences were happening to me. I understood there was a free-for-all nature to catching foul balls and I too was guilty of jumping in front of others in order to nab that ultimate prize.
Needless to say, those baseball games are some of the fondest memories I’ll have of my childhood, my sister, and my grandpa. So when my dad told me a few days ago about the Missions leaving San Antonio, I was pretty dumbstruck.
On June 21, Missions’ owner Elmore Sports Group (ESG) announced that the team would be moving up to Amarillo, Texas, presumably by the 2019 season. The City Council in Amarillo is in the early stages of pursuing a plan to build a $48.4 million baseball stadium/multipurpose venue. This will inevitably be the new home of Amarillo’s future baseball team.
While the team itself is relocating, the franchise (thankfully) will be staying in San Antonio. Fun fact: the Missions franchise is a Double-A team. So it’s at the second highest level of play in the minor league. Another fun fact: the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, a Triple-A franchise from Colorado Springs, will be moving to San Antonio and adopting the San Antonio Missions name.
This means that the Missions club will be elevated to Triple-A status: the highest class in the minor leagues. Thanks to this move by ESG, we’ll be seeing new teams and brand new matchups after entering the Pacific Coast League, which is recognized as a premiere league with quality play.
The move is not immediate, but when it happens it will be great for many baseball fans here in town to see some higher level games. It is sad to see the franchise—in a sense— shed its skin. But what we’re getting out of it should outway any negative feelings there will be towards this team shift. Hopefully those Colorado players get used to Central Texas summers.