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  • Friday, December 04, 2015
    Council hears minor league baseball proposal
    A pitch to bring minor league baseball to Brenham was heard Thursday by city council members.
     
    Council members heard a proposal from Uri Geva, founder-owner of the Brazos Valley Bombers, a Bryan-based team that competes in the Texas Collegiate League.
     
    Geva wants to bring a TCL franchise here, playing 30 games at the baseball stadium in Fireman’s Park.
     
    Brenham hasn’t had minor league baseball since the Kaisers played here in 1915, he told council members.
     
    Brenham would be the seventh team in the TCL, which is composed of players still in college.
     
    The team would bring a “minor league” concept, offering a family-friendly atmosphere with events such as tea-drinking contests and “dizzy bat” races, said Geva.
     
    “It’s nine innings of entertainment that happens to have baseball,” he said. “It’s great wholesome family fun.”
     
    The Fireman’s Park stadium has 22 spaces for sponsorships on the outfield fence. The city is selling those at $1,000 each to raise money for the maintenance and improvement of the stadium.
     
    Geva said his organization would commit to buying any unsold sign spaces, with the understanding that it could resell those to sponsors.
     
    Sponsorships are critical to TCL teams, he told the council, paying for half of their operating costs.
     
    Geva said he hopes a Brenham team can begin play next summer and promised its games here would not interfere with Cub games or tournaments already scheduled.
     
    “You guys tell us this is going to happen, and we’ll work around it,” he said. “We’re never going to kick anybody off the field.”
     
    A minor league team could be a boost to the local economy; Geva said the Bombers had an estimated $1 million boost the Bryan-College Station economy during its season this year.
     
    It would also allow increased use of a city facility, bringing in more revenue from an asset that sits idle a large portion of each summer, Geva said.
     
    “A field that’s not generating any funds suddenly starts to do that,” he said.
     
    Geva said he’s looking for a five-year “partnership” with the city.
     
    “Obviously we are in this for the long run,” he told council members.
     
    Council member Danny Goss questioned how the city would be compensated for use of the field if it sells all 22 of the outfield wall sponsorships itself.
     
    The city normally charges $150 per day for using the baseball field at Fireman’s Park.
     
    Geva said discussions with city staffers have included waiving that fee, but he pointed out that increased economic activity a team would bring — such as sales tax revenue — would “more than offset” the rental fee.
     
    Several council members said they’re intrigued by the idea.
     
    “I love this idea,” said Mary Barnes-Tilley. “It brings a whole other experience that the city doesn’t have now.”
     
    She cautioned, however, that other uses such as select team tournaments can’t be compromised.
     
    City staffers were instructed to continue discussions about the proposal.