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San Antonio Missions to move up to AAA

The promotion to AAA also includes a relocation to Amarillo, Texas.

San Antonio Express-News

In Padres-related MiLB news, the San Antonio Missions have announced they are making the move up the ladder to become a AAA franchise.

This doesn’t mean all our prized prospects get a promotion en masse. Here’s where things get a little funky. I know you’ll keep up:

  • The team known as the San Antonio Missions will move to Amarillo (pronounced Am-uh-rill-uh) as part of their promotion but will be an AA club in Amarillo. Word is they will keep the same name (which is odd), although chances are they’re maintaining the Missions moniker as they will have to continue to play at The Wolff in the short term while the new stadium in Amarillo is built.
  • The Colorado Springs Sky Sox AAA club will eventually relocate to San Antonio while remaining a AAA club. Both the Sky Sox and Missions are owned by the same ownership group (The Elmore Sports Group). No word on whether the Sky Sox will change their name upon a move.
  • The Helena Brewers (of Helena, Montana) will move to the vacancy in Colorado Springs.

While many local San Antonioites Antonans Antonians applaud the arrival of AAA baseball in San Antonio, many are wary of accessibility to players. A debate on whether San Antonio will eventually need a larger stadium to house such a franchise is also looming (other cities have this problem too, apparently).

Of historical significance to the Padres is that Amarillo used to be home of the Gold Sox. Tony Gwynn, Andy Hawkins, Mark Thurmond, and Dave Dravecky spent time playing for the club before the franchise packed up in 1983 and became the Beaumont Golden Gators (whose caps are worth a look). The Missions move to Amarillo from San Antonio also marks the return of affiliated baseball to the city since 1983.

Luis Urias is one of many Missions players working to become a future Padre.

So what happens to all our developing players currently playing for the Missions? That remains to be seen for now. The player-development contract between the Padres and Missions expires next year (as does the El Paso contract). One can expect these young AA players will be wearing a different jersey and reside in a different city come next season. Changes won’t kick in until after the 2018 season.

(Edited for clarification, as this is still somewhat confusing even to me)