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Violence in Juarez Could Kill The Return of Affiliated Minor League Baseball in El Paso

Cohen Stadium
Cohen Stadium, built in 1990 and home of the El Paso Diablos. Photo courtesy of diablos.com

Since I wrote about the possibility of affiliated baseball returning to El Paso last week, I’ve spoken with numerous executives around Minor League baseball. All of them have expressed their doubt that El Paso will be successful in their attempt to attract either the Triple-A Pacific Coast League or the Double-A Texas League back to the Sun City. It is not due to lack of financing, Minor League ready facilities, or attendance. Instead, the most popular reason these baseball executives believe El Paso will lose out again is the violence in Juarez.

Mexican Drug War Fuels Violence In Juarez
Disturbing images such as this one taken last March in Juarez, Mexico could prevent El Paso from bringing back affiliated baseball. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

What if a Double-A or Triple-A Minor League baseball player gets kidnapped by members of the Cartel?  That sounds ridiculous to most El Pasoans, but is a legitimate concern to some PCL team executives. If another city offered a “safer” place for a team to play, then why come to El Paso where thousands of people are being murdered each year right across the border? When Dateline NBC airs a one-hour special about an innocent woman getting murdered for openly speaking out against the cartel violence, it could have a big impact about how the rest of the nation views El Paso.

The fact is, our city officials have not done a good enough job of marketing El Paso over the last few years. Instead of focusing on El Paso as one of the nation’s safest cities, stories about stray bullets heading towards City Hall or the UTEP campus have made national headlines. The El Paso Convention and Visitor’s Bureau had enlisted the help of a consulting firm in California to help change the way people view us. Their plan does not really impact El Paso over the next few years, but rather over a 1o-15 year period. That will not us any good in a few weeks when the San Diego Padres’ Triple-A franchise is put up for sale and El Paso is one of the interested buying groups.

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