Mike Feder, former general manager for the Tucson Padres, winner of the 2013 Pacific Coast League Executive of the Year award and new hire for the Arizona Diamondbacks has got a problem.
As you might know, the Padres recently pulled up stakes and moved to El Paso after years of
unyielding fan support hard work trying to fill the seats of Kino Stadium. And while the same old complaints that the Padres home park was inferior in every way to Hi Corbett (currently the home of University of Arizona baseball) didn't appear to shake Feder, it seems that more recent chatter did.
Last month, it was announced that the El Paso Chihuahuas and the Reno Aces (Tucson's former AAA baseball franchise) would play a four-game set in Tucson while El Paso finished their stadium.
Predictably, people raised a fuss over the announcement...and after weeks of reading fan complaints on the Tucson Padres Facebook page, Feder made it clear where he stands.
This is Mike Feder. I'm curious why the people who still criticize these four games being in Tucson are still friends of the Tucson Padres. If they have no interest in these games I would suggest you no longer be a friend so we don't offend you. It's my feeling that four games of quality Triple-A baseball is better than none. The El Paso owners did the right thing by paying Pima County for an entire season even though they might only need a limited number of games. Those games are generating additional dollars to our community - two teams in a hotel and their personal spending, concession purchases, pay to seven people for 1 1/2 months, additional compensation to our staff for on game days, and hopefully some good will with our promos - $2 beer & soft drinks on Friday, MLB giveaways on Saturday, all youth players get in FREE with their jersey on Sunday, and free tickets on Monday from eegee's.
To me, this seems like venting from the a damn hard-working guy who is passionate about baseball, and passionate about Tucson.
I don't want to put words in Feder's mouth, but Tucson is a community that has trouble accepting change and going outside of its comfort zone: see the quality baseball played by the Tucson Sidewinders, including a AAA championship, all but ignored by a community that gave them the worst attendance in the Pacific Coast League. Why? Because the stadium was inconvenient. Because it wasn't Hi Corbett. Because they weren't the Toros.
While it's exciting that soccer is energizing the community and taking over land that was originally designated for major league sluggers, it's a shame that baseball in Tucson went away the way it did...and its especially a shame that passionate guys like Mike Feder were cast on their ears, however momentarily, by an apathetic public.
The El Paso Chihuahuas will take on the Reno Aces at Kino Sports Complex, April 11-14. Ticket information can be found at kinosportscomplex.com.
Let's show them some support this time, Tucson; no one knows when we'll get professional baseball around these parts again, after all.