Seemed strange, didn’t it, that out of nowhere, the City of Shreveport called a media conference to announce the prospect of a baseball-and-other-sports facility?
Were we in the market for one?
Especially since the old one (Fair Grounds Field) is in the process of being torn down. Or not being torn down, depending on which side of the court order you are sitting on.
You’d like to think that this has been a front-burner issue for city officials, especially with the way they were celebrating the announcement earlier this week. Either that, or it’s been the best-kept secret as they worked diligently to get this put together.
Or this happened …
“City of Shreveport, how may we help you?”
“Yes, this is the Texas Rangers calling. We’d like to talk to someone about building a baseball facility over there.”
“Just a moment please while I connect you to that department.”
The announcement was nothing more than that – an announcement. If you thought there were any details forthcoming, you might as well have been in left field. (Include the details of where the actual left field was going to be located.)
There are a lot of dots to connect here, but there’s no need to expend a lot of brain power — this fell into the City of Shreveport’s lap. What we have here is a gift horse situation. No need to look it in the mouth.
If you want to spend time questioning the need for this, welcome to Shreveport. That seems to be our prime export. If you want to question if this was a political ploy to get re-elected by Mayor Adrian Perkins, you’d think he would have come up with something a lot more grandiose than this. If you are wondering why they didn’t just save Fair Grounds Field, then you’d be saving the unsavable. It’s been out of service for years; it’s been out of date for decades.
Here’s what seems to make the most sense:
** The City of Shreveport has “partnered” with REV Entertainment, which is a spinoff business of the Texas Rangers. So whenever you hear “REV Entertainment,” feel free to translate that as the “Texas Rangers.”
** Minor league baseball has been undergoing a seismic shift in the last few years. The maw-and-paw operated teams are basically gone. Some, but not all, of the minor league teams are operated by their major league franchises. The Rangers are an example of that.
** The Rangers have two Class A teams in North Carolina – high-A Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic League and low-A Down East Wood Ducks in the Carolina League. Their other two minor league franchises are both located in Texas. The growing trend across baseball is to have your minor league teams as close to the parent club as possible. Part of it is because the fan base is already established, but the real value is in the economics of reduced travel. (The Astros also have two minor league teams in Texas.)
** Perkins vaguely talked of a long-term lease agreement playing a role in funding the new facility. How’s this for a guess as to what that means — sounds like the Rangers would own it, REV Entertainment would manage it and Shreveport would maintain it.
For a lot of people around here, it’s hard to get away from the idea of how the minor leagues operated in the good ol’ days of the Shreveport Captains. You need to. That ship has sailed (did you get that nautical pun?)
Here is the biggest problem: There are no Class A leagues (either high-A or low-A) anywhere near here. The Texas League, where the Captains once played, is for Class AA teams and the Rangers’ franchise there is basically across the street in Frisco.
The words “independent league” were thrown around at the press conference. That might be a way to transition, but it is certainly not the end game for this.
Minor league baseball hasn’t finished shifting. It was downsized a few years ago, mostly for economic reasons, and will continue to evolve. Rest assured, the Rangers have something in mind, otherwise they would have never picked up the phone.
Just be thankful they didn’t get put on hold.
Contact JJ at firstname.lastname@example.org