In a 5-0 vote Monday by the Pittsburg City Council, Pittsburg will be the new home of an independent minor league baseball team with construction set to begin as early as April 15.
The Council has agreed to spend $350,000 to make field improvements at City Park Field 1 with games to begin on June 17 with 78-total games with 39 of those being home games. Tickets are expected to be between $5-to-$10 with an expected first season attendance average of 250-300 fans per game.
According to Kolette Simonton, Community Relations Manager for the City of Pittsburg, this proposal falls in line with the City’s long-term goals and called it a benefit to the community.
“What this is, we are exploring the opportunity to bring an independent minor league baseball team to the City of Pittsburg. This is a great opportunity to bring people from all over the County to come and watch something that typically they would drive all the way to Oakland or San Francisco to do,” said Kolette Simonton. “There are some improvements to be made to the fields that will benefit the community, not just a minor league team. The youths will benefit as well as anyone who utilizes the fields.”
She further explained that this is not an “exclusive use” agreement, but that all teams can use it.
Harry York, of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, spoke as a resident about how these types of teams generate a lot of fun, bring people out to the community, and are a benefit.
“It’s a great thing for the community, it constantly keeps you in the press and it’s a great opportunity for a family to get out,” said York. “You have the funds; I would urge you to go forward.”
Marshal Collins, representing the Pittsburg Baseball Softball Association, explained that by making improvements to the field it will help the league to bring in outside teams to play.
“There would be no kids who would be displaced and kids currently do not play on that field but we would like to start playing on that field,” said Collins. “We are looking to play on CP1. We have 16-members on our board and we all support this.”
He further explained that with these improvements, they may be able to win a bid for the Little League World Series. He shared how Livermore upgraded their fields, but that these proposed upgrades would be better than what Livermore has.
“If we can have this field improved, we can go and put a bid in for the World Series,” stated Collins. “The Little League World Series brought in close to a million dollars in revenue to the local businesses there and helped them. It brought teams from all over the world to see that City of Livermore and what it was all about. We want to do that here and benefit all the businesses.”
He also went over misconceptions and rumors starting how this will displace more than 500 kids—call that statement untrue. Pony and Little League can’t play on grass fields—called it not true. Games had to be moved from CP1 – explained they do not play on that field at this time.
Pittsburg Mayor Sal Evola was excited and ready to move as quickly as the City Manager who is a big baseball fan.
“When the City Manager brought this to me, I asked him how quickly can you get this done.” said Mayor Evola. “I just want to compliment staff for being a part of this. I just want to congratulate everyone for doing it so quickly and bringing it to the council.”
Councilmember Nancy Parent was equally excited about being able to watch minor league baseball locally.
“Being the only councilmember who ever saw the Diamonds play, I am that old, I may not be as big of fan as the city manager, I am very happy not to have to go to Stockton to see minor league baseball or to Modesto, and not having to pay as much as it costs to go to Oakland and enjoying seeing young people get ahead in baseball I am very very happy,” said Parent.
Council adopted the Resolution 5-0.
Here is the Staff Report:
Here is a look at the Staff Report:
Request for adoption by the City Council a resolution approving a Field 1 License Agreement with Backwards K Group to bring an Independent Minor League Baseball Team to Pittsburg and authorizing necessary improvements to City Park Field 1.
If approved, the resolution authorizes the allocation of Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($350,000) from Pittsburg Power Company Reserves Account for field and park improvements that will bring the field up to league standards. In addition, beginning in FY 2014-2015, the City budget will include be an annual maintenance expense of approximately Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000) funded by the Economic Development Fund.
City Council adopt the Resolution approving a Field 1 License Agreement with Backwards K Group LLC allocating $350,000 for field improvements and authorizing the City Manager to carry out any additional tasks and budget allocations required to carry out the obligations of the Agreement.
Backwards K Group has proposed the addition of a Pittsburg team to the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. If approved, the Pacific Association will have four teams for the 2014 season: Sonoma, San Rafael, Vallejo and Pittsburg. Last year, the Pacific Association had six teams: Sonoma, San Rafael, Vallejo, East Bay, and two teams in Hawaii. The two teams in Hawaii proved very costly and have been dropped from the Pacific Association.
The baseball teams in the association are unaffiliated and include players that played in minor and major league baseball. The Pittsburg team has had one tryout and is expected to have at least two former major league players.
The Pittsburg team is proposing to use Field 1 in City Park which is currently the only full-sized baseball field with 325 ft. left field, 310 ft. right field, and 390 ft. at center field. City Park contains two additional young adult/adult ball fields that do not accommodate adult baseball, and four youth/little league fields (Davi Fields 1-4). Field 1 is the largest baseball field in City Park and is located in the southeast corner of City Park. The use of Field 1 by the Pittsburg team is not exclusive. Annual tournaments that are normally scheduled on Field 1 will continue to occur without interruption (Valle, Acuna, Quesada, Foreman, and Pittsburg Baseball/Softball Association).
Staff met several times in February with the management group that would own the Pittsburg team. The meetings included on site examinations of the facilities and needed renovations. The ownership group delivered to staff a short and long term wish list of improvements necessary for the team to play baseball at Field 1.
Staff also met with the Pittsburg Baseball/Softball Association on March 18, 2014 to discuss the impacts of a minor league baseball team on the youth teams using Field 1. In an effort to encourage the cooperative efforts between the Pittsburg Baseball/Softball Association and professional Pittsburg team, the Pittsburg Baseball/Softball Association adjusted their schedule to move teams off of Field 1 to allow for park improvements and renovations upon City Council approval.
Between 1948-1951 Pittsburg was home to its first minor league team, the “Diamonds.” The Diamonds had two Major Leaguers: Vince DiMaggio, Manager and Gus Suhr.
The potential of making Pittsburg’s City Park Field 1 home to an Independent Baseball Team was presented to the Community Advisory Commission at the March 5, 2014 meeting and discussed with the Economic Development/Waterfront Development Subcommittee during the March 25, 2014 meeting.
The term of the proposed Field 1 License Agreement is five years. The Agreement also includes field and facility operations, promotion, maintenance, equipment, concessions, field usage fees and potential revenue sharing. The Pacific Association has defined rules, regulations and policies governing the use of fields.
Within the Field 1 License Agreement, the Pittsburg team has a parking plan, safety and security plan, alcohol management plan, and community benefits plan. In addition, the Pittsburg team supplies game day security and a clean-up crew. The league allows the sale of beer as part of their concessions however tailgating is prohibited. Field 1 is fenced off and will only have alcohol sales inside the fence.
The cost of a dedicated police officer for all home games during the first year is included in staff’s proposed FY 2014-15 budget funded from PPC Reserves.
City staff from Economic Development, Planning, Public Works, Police, and Traffic have evaluated the impacts from the Pittsburg team and the requested Field 1 improvement wish list. The proposed improvements include fencing, seating replacement and additional bleachers, safety netting, grass infield improvements, pitchers mound installation, scoreboard installation, dugout improvements, sound system improvements, bullpens, drainage improvements, and security cameras. In addition, a lighted crosswalk at Civic Avenue and Center Drive may be installed. Staff has worked diligently on obtaining estimates and timelines for the necessary improvements to be installed by the end of May.
The Pacific Association plays 78 games (39 away and home) between June and August, not including playoffs. Should the City Council approve the Field 1 License Agreement, the first home game for Pittsburg would tentatively be at Field 1 on June 17, 2014.
Ticket prices are expected to be between $5 and $10. In San Rafael, the average attendance is 750 fans per game. Staff is expecting the first season to average between 250 to 300 fans per game.
The addition of the minor league baseball team to the community of Pittsburg will help fulfill two goals set by the City Council. Goal 2 is Improve Public Facilities and Infrastructure and Goal 5 is Improve the Quality of Life for Pittsburg Residents.