OK, full disclosure. I consider Tucson one of my two hometowns for a number of reasons. Not to bore you all with the biography of me but, lived in Oceanside until I was 11 then on to Tucson through college. So, any place where you learned to drive, graduated high school, had your first girlfriend and graduated college, gets credit as a hometown.
In my 13 years of living in Tucson, the city played home to two AAA baseball teams. At first it was the Tucson Toros, the AAA affiliate of the Houston Astros. They played at Hi Corbett Field, which, if you are a fan of the movie "Major League" (and really, if you are not a fan of "Major League" then just move along friend) you would recognize Hi Corbett as the home of the Cleveland Indians spring training. And, in less memorable moments, I once tried out for the Tampa Bay Rays once upon a lifetime. As there is no Disney movie about my rise in the Rays organization, its safe to assume I did not make it.
Padres fans who are familiar with Matt Vasgersian's career may remember that he was once played the part of Tuffy the Toro, the Toros mascot. (I guess I should mention for those not familiar with spanish, toro = bull).
Then MLB expanded and gave Phoenix a professional team. So good bye Toros. But hello brand new AAA park and team in the form of the Tucson Sidewinders. But, after the 2008 season, Tucson lost yet another AAA team, this time to Reno.
Needless to say, I had some fun times going to AAA games. So, I was pretty excited when I read Corey Brock's article tonight regarding the temporary home of the Portland Beavers:
According to Baseball America, the Beavers will move to Tucson, where they will play for at least one season before moving to a permanent home and a new ballpark in Escondido, Calif.
Kick ASS! I know its only for one year but still, pretty exciting stuff if you ask me. Tucson has always been a great town for Spring Training baseball and, at least my teenage recollection is that Tucson was a pretty good AAA town as well.
So, there you go. The Portland Beavers will be moving to Tucson next year. Apparently the reason being is that their home in Portland is being converted for a soccer-specific stadium to accomodate an MLS team.
One last Arizona baseball memory here. During the one year that Michael Jordan played minor league baseball, he also played in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions. So yes, I have seen Jordan play baseball in person. At Hi Corbett Field. Fun times. Here's hoping a AAA team moves there for good in the near future.