SBD/July 9, 2012/Facilities

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Looks To Lure MLB Team To City's Downtown

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is “still looking for a redevelopment catalyst in the downtown railyard ... has turned his eye to a new sport, asking his Think Big Sacramento task force to look this summer into marketing Sacramento as a big-league baseball town,” according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Johnson also has begun “soliciting insider advice from a notable local name," former Pirates Owner Kevin McClatchy. Mayoral aides said that Johnson's moves “are aimed at sending a message to Major League Baseball that Sacramento wants to be in the mix if and when a team is looking for greener pastures.” The initiative “appears to send a message as well" to the NBA Kings, who recently turned down a financing deal to build a $400M downtown arena. McClatchy said he believes Sacramento is “a great baseball town” and a “viable option for major league baseball.” Johnson aides added that the mayor “sees the downtown railyard -- not an expanded Raley Field -- as the best site for a major league ballpark because of its potential as an economic development stimulus" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 7/9). The Triple-A PCL Sacramento River Cats, who currently play at Raley Field, led all Minor League Baseball teams in attendance during 10 of the club's first 11 years of existence ('00-10). The team finished third in attendance among all MiLB last season (THE DAILY).
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