The Del Rio City Council has determined that Roosevelt Park will not be able to host a professional baseball team.
A special meeting was held Tuesday night in council chambers to discuss the Del Rio Aviators' request to use the baseball park for league games.
The special meeting was called to further discuss and resolve scheduling conflicts between the professional team and the Del Rio Babe Ruth baseball league.
Mayor Roberto "Bobby" Fernandez called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. "If scheduling issues could be resolved, then the next items to be discussed would be the fees, liability, the concession and several other items," Fernandez stated.
Representatives from the city, Del Rio Aviators, Del Rio Babe Ruth Baseball and the Del Rio High School Rams baseball program, met Nov. 30 to discuss scheduling conflicts.
During the two-and-a-half hour meeting, school district representatives offered to allow the Babe Ruth League to use the Rams practice field for day games.
Babe Ruth representatives announced the team could not guarantee which days, if any, the team may need in July, if the city was named as the site for a state or regional tournament.
The Nov. 30 meeting concluded without reaching a suitable final agreement for all parties involved.
During Tuesday's meeting, City Manager Robert A. Eads explained the conflict to council members and others in attendance.
"In the July month, we do have quite a few games the Aviators would play..." Eads said. "The July issue, where we ran into a roadblock...was a couple items. One in particular was the All Star games...the games from what I understand, were a five game all-star series, broken up into the different weeks."
Tony Reyes, who stated he has been associated with the Babe Ruth League for 29 years, addressed the council.
"I'm for baseball, I believe baseball...there are quite a few of you here whom I've coached," he said.
"What really bothers me...Babe Ruth has done so much for that ballpark, I don't know if you are all aware, but we've had other teams come by and look at the fields, and you know what they've told us? It was a cow pasture, and yeah it was. But five years ago, we made an effort with the help of Mr. Bill Jewell, we took a project, and we raised over $40,000 with the help of the citizens of Del Rio, the businesses... I cannot see where somebody is going to benefit from what Babe Ruth and the city of Del Rio has done," Reyes stated.
Councilman Al Arreola asked Reyes if he had ever asked the previous council or new mayor for a new stadium. Fernandez responded to the proposed question.
"We hear that Eagle Pass does this, Eagle Pass does that, well we were 15 years ahead of Eagle Pass, 15 years ago...members sitting in this council proposed a multipurpose sports complex. With the resources being what they are, they proposed a bond issue, which was defeated three to one, the community said no," Fernandez declared.
"It's a shame that we only have one baseball field in our community. It's admirable that everyone is willing to make room for another league," he said, "I think that runs, in our blood, of being baseball fans, and baseball supporters," he said.
Fernandez concluded the discussion for the evening before bringing the meeting to a close.
"The truth to the matter is, we've got to protect our kids and their playing area. We've got to provide the farm club to the Del Rio Rams, because there is no junior high program, and we've got to do something to bring the other leagues, the professional leagues in here. There's room for all of us here, but not under that field right now."
After the meeting, Ron Wrob, the primary financial backer for the proposed Del Rio Aviators franchise, commented on the decision.
"They were dead set on preventing a professional team. They had no intention of moving the Del Rio baseball team out of there," he stated. "We were going to rebuild the bleachers, which are falling apart and hazardous. We were going to field half the cost to get the field up to standard...We called a meeting and we didn't even get to talk," Wrob said.
"Ball teams don't become available all the time...there was a time limit. I got involved because the city couldn't commit on $18,000, much less the amount that was involved in getting this team here," he added.