Kino baseball stadium lacks baseball - Tucson News Now

Kino baseball stadium lacks baseball

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District V Supervisor Richard Elias gave Freedom Baseball League President Joe Sperle an audience and listened to his pitch. District V Supervisor Richard Elias gave Freedom Baseball League President Joe Sperle an audience and listened to his pitch.
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

For the first time in nearly 20 years, there is no summer pro baseball being played at the Kino Sports Complex.

The $36 million taxpayer funded stadium sits idle for baseball. 

The grass is still green. Concerts will be held and some amateur baseball. But the professional ball players will be a no show.

A pro group in Phoenix has been trying to expand to Tucson but is finding the task difficult at best.

"It's been a little frustrating trying to get things done here," said Joe Sperle, president and partner in the Freedom Baseball League.

Sperle was in Tucson trying to get a meeting with Pima County officials to seal a deal they've been working on since September.

"There seems to be some foot dragging here," he said.

Sperle's league is comprised of four teams which play out of the Goodyear Stadium.

"We want to expand that to six teams, adding Tucson and Ajo," he said.

But county officials have not been receptive to the idea.

When the White Sox, Rockies and Diamondbacks pulled up stakes and left town, it left a bitter taste in the mouths of county officials.

"I think there's certainly a degree of trepidation surrounding all of that," District V Supervisor Richard Elias said.

Sperle wants to start baseball at Kino in two weeks and needs a deal signed this week.

That appears to be a long shot at best.

The people he needs to see are either on vacation or not available.

"I think they're on vacation on purpose," he mumbled.

Elias gave Sperle an audience and listened to his pitch.

But he left without a deal.

"We're willing to take a look at any deal, any decent proposal that we get," Elias said.

He promised the paperwork would be in the hands of the county administrator before the day is over.

"That's all I can ask for now, " Sperle said.

Sperle's league is generally made up of 20- to 27-year-olds looking to get a shot at the big time.

It's a small league with a limited budget.

It's hoping to lease Kino for $1,300 a game. The county wants about $3,800.

That's nearly three times what the league pays in Goodyear and is a deal breaker for the Freedom League.

For the county, it's also a potential deal breaker.

"We still owe about $10 million on our stadium," Elias said.

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