Damien Christian, coach of the So Cal Mizuno Triple Crown Sports baseball team, watches his team face pitcher Joey Collura, of the High Heat team from Glendale, Ariz., on Wednesday at Howelsen Park.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Damien Christian, coach of the So Cal Mizuno Triple Crown Sports baseball team, watches his team face pitcher Joey Collura, of the High Heat team from Glendale, Ariz., on Wednesday at Howelsen Park.

Balking at Triple Crown

Steamboat City Council votes to put off contract extension

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— After being pitched a ninth-inning curve ball Tuesday night, city officials responded with a checked swing.

The Steamboat Springs City Council voted, 4-2, to table until Sept. 2 the approval of a two-year contract extension for Triple Crown Sports. The extension would allow Triple Crown to continue bringing national youth baseball tournaments to Routt County in July and August of 2009-10. A proposal that might have impacted local softball leagues was a factor in the tabling.

The council balked at new contract language that was inserted between the first and second reading of the enabling ordinance.

"In my mind, this too much to slipstream into a second reading," Councilman Jon Quinn said. "This is just a huge challenge."

The new language confronted the council with some difficult options it wasn't prepared to commit to on short notice, and it would have required the city to accommodate Triple Crown's need for more playing fields in one of three ways.

One option was to restructure local adult softball leagues to allow Triple Crown to enjoy extended play on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at Ski Town Park and Howelsen Hill.

Taking that step would "dramatically affect" local softball leagues, confirmed Chris Wilson, the city's director of parks, open space and recreational services.

Failing that, the council was asked to allow access to the Emerald Park ball fields in Steamboat Springs, or to fund completion of new diamonds in Hayden's Dry Creek Park, along with funding ball field improvements in Steamboat.

Joey Rind, who has been captain of the team known as Steamboat Blue in the Steamboat men's A softball league for 12 years, said he was taken aback when friends alerted him to the new contract language.

"When that bomb was dropped on me today, I thought, 'Why would someone entertain something that would grossly affect a local program?'" Rind said.

He said disrupting Wednesday and Thursday nights would impact men's A-league softball and coed C and D leagues.

Rind, who works in property management, said he is not anti-Triple Crown. In fact, Steamboat Blue has joined ballplayers from Craig in the past to form a successful Triple Crown tournament team.

Information supplied to the city council included a reminder that, on April 1, the initial contract extension asked city staff, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and Triple Crown to propose alternatives to Emerald Park. Those alternatives were to include "alternative scheduling or other fields to accommodate the increased demand for fields."

Scott Marr, owner of the Steamboat Holiday Inn, stood before council to say Triple Crown is the heart of six key weeks of summer business.

"Even the Fourth of July, with all of the activities we have, isn't nearly as strong as Triple Crown weekends," Marr said.

But Councilwoman Meg Bentley also said she would not be comfortable approving the ordinance on second reading, given the proposed contract changes. She wanted to provide an opportunity for public comment on the implications of the proposed changes.

"This comes to us at the 11th hour," Councilman Steve Ivancie agreed. "There are major changes here. I was afraid Emerald would be back on the table. It's off limits."

Access issue

City Council President Loui Antonucci said the city's public works staff is making an effort to engage the Union Pacific Railroad in discussions about creating a new at-grade railroad crossing that would allow vehicles to access Emerald Park from U.S. Highway 40 and thus eliminate the associated traffic from the residential neighborhood on Pamela Lane. They also were working on developing the cost of that option, he added.

Ivancie said he would be opposed to Triple Crown usage of Emerald, even with a new access.

Councilman Scott Myller said tabling the ordinance would not result in any new information. All of the public comment on both sides of the issue already has been heard, he said.

Myller made a motion to approve the ordinance on second and final reading, but his motion was trumped by an overriding motion to table the measure until the Tuesday after Labor Day. The motion passed with Myller and Antonucci dissenting. Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski was absent.

Comments

Harvey Lyon 6 years, 4 months ago

Good catch City Council and Adult Softball! How does a "2nd Reading" get changed so much from the "1st reading"? It would be interesting to pull the string on that one.

High occupany rates at local motels begat more motels which then require more events to achieve high occupancy rates which begat more motels which begat...........until the existing balloon bursts.

We really should look seriously at increasing infrastructure prior to increasing growth.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 4 months ago

Actually, with enough new condos going in right now, I don't think more motels will happen, specifically. Just wait to see summer tourism numbers: I'm sure you see that most are down significantly from last summer. I just hope this gets fixed soon. There are too many people's jobs that depend on summer tourism, which TC is the bulk of.

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Harvey Lyon 6 years, 4 months ago

Matthew,

I too hope a more permanent solution comes along soon. However, I am not going to support giving up one game of softball, one child's opportunity to throw a baseball, one neighbors right to the relatively quiet enjoyment of their home such that the hospitality industry can reap increased profits.

This is not a new issue, the same has been discussed for over a decade and not a new field built. I'd suggest that Holiday Inn (used as a collective term) start building new fields if they wish to maintain TCS summer business.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 4 months ago

Yes, but lodging isn't the only recipient of income by Triple Crown. They still eat in restaurants, they still buy food at grocery stores, they still spend money at the movies on occassion, and if they finish early, sometimes they go on outtings in the area or the Old Town Hot Springs or the like. They do all the stuff a winter visitor would do except for snow activities. Not all of them, but then again, not everyone skis in the winter either.

I have no problem if they left...as long as a viable source replaced them. Look at numbers in the past for Labor Day weekend- since the Vintage Auto Races left...almost a decade ago, now...tourism numbers are still flat, along with tax revenue compared.

Having worked for almost 2 decades in the lodging community, TC hasn't gotten worse. If anything, they been better behaved, at least from what I see personally. Everyone has a different story. I experience no more traffic delays in the summer than I do in May, when there's no TC.

Remember what it says in this very article- Joey Rind is a local and has combined with Craig members to play in TC. There are other local teams involved, as well. So, getting rid of TC does possibly mean giving up a child's opportunity to throw a baseball, especially if the parents don't have ways of getting these kids to championships outside of town.

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Harvey Lyon 6 years, 4 months ago

Matt,

You miss my point and assume I wish the contract to remain unsigned. Quite the contrary. I just draw the line at a certain cost; recognizing there are some who who have no morals when it comes to chasing the almighty $$.

There are ways to earn an honest living and a reasonable profit without compromising other's well being, and ultimately one's own.

In this particular case, if the return on investment is reasonable then invest the capital and do it as soon as possible. God knows this situation has defined itself long ago.

And there are no local youth baseball teams that have ever qualified to play in the TCS World Series. There are a few who were"invited as room permitted" to represent the local community which was very enjoyable for them to participate. Joey Rind is talking about the 4th of July Adult Softball Tournament where one needed only pay a fee to participate. There is one weekend of Girls Fast Pitch and two Weekends of youth baseball tournaments. Placing well in these would qualify you for the end of July/early August youth baseball tournaments (3 to 4 consecutive weeks) and are termed "The World Series".

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 4 months ago

I can understand. I'm also surprised the contract was changed midstream like it was, but I'm just hoping they get it corrected in time. With the economy the way it is, and numbers are down around town, losing them immediately could be hazardous to Steamboat's economy.

I know Joey and know he's on an adult team. Still, as you said, it does allow for our kids to play with TC. This can be a big deal for them. Just because they haven't yet qualified doesn't mean we should deny them the future opportunity.

I just don't want to see a return to the 80's where you needed to be a doctor or a lawyer in order to work steadily year-round.

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Harvey Lyon 6 years, 4 months ago

Agreed, so where's the Bond Measure to build 4 additional baseball fields......invest in our future!

I'd support it as long as one of the fields was artificial turf for the HS baseball team.

We're spending a lot on a library (replacement) addition and that sure doesn't seem to compare in revenue generated.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm wondering if a bond measure would pass, though. We rely too much on sales tax as the primary revenue and I'm afraid this will go like the Rec Center vote. There will be too many people who don't use the fields that would vote against it, or if for the HS team, will say that should come from taxes allocated to the School District.

I'd support a measure as such, along with maybe extra money for upkeep to the Howelsen fields, so they can be assured of constant, even better upkeep. Those should stay turf, though. And this is coming from me as a person who never really uses the fields...except starting last year for the KickBall Klassic! LOL!

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nmypinon 6 years, 4 months ago

I hope that parents can teach their children some manners. The other day there was a call made in OC that there was 7 young boys urinating on the football stadium. This is what ticks me off about TC. And lo & behold the OC chief could not do anything because it was considered in the county.

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candylane 6 years, 4 months ago

There was a TC game going on and they were in the one of the TC team uniforms, it appeared to be TC players since OC games were over the end of June. I guess the really sad thing about this was the boys were standing outside of the bathroom doors, which were unlocked for the TC use.

Seems the days are over when good sportsmanship was the point of the game. Two TC coaches were taking swings at each other the week before at the same fields. I guess that night they had to wait for RCSO also because no one was on duty in Oak Creek.

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mtroach 6 years, 4 months ago

It does seem that the bad apples get all the press. I don't know how many teams were in town but one group of kids should not taint the whole bunch. WE need to start getting pictures of these bad apples to show the TC organization what we dislike about their events. TC can take action against their problem elements. Denver has a citizen commission to watch over the police department, we need a TC watch commission.

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addlip2U 6 years, 4 months ago

We don't need TC watch commission or spend any more money on them. If they can't support themselves and act respectfully TC can leave Steamboat for good! The sooner the better.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 4 months ago

I agree with mtroach. The lodging community always calls in any complaints about TC to the higher ups. I've also seen plenty of "kids" in the winter for skiing, whoopin' it up at 2am in Ski Time Square when people in surrounding condos are trying to sleep. (Not any more, at least for a while, though)

What sucks about this particular OC incident was the lack of response by police. I'm not into the whole vigilante-thing, but if someone was witnessing this, why didn't a group of adults watching approach them to correct them? It's your town- there's no reason to say "It's not my job."

Personally, if 7 kids are urinating publicly and a group of adults all confront them, then take them to their coaches/parents, I think the embarrassment factor alone would teach them a lesson. In fact, I'd have gotten cell phone pics for proof to show the parents/coaches/TC staff.

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trump_suit 6 years, 4 months ago

addlip2u,

You have been singing this one note song about TC since I began monitoring these comments. Can you not see that there are good and bad people in ALL of the groups that visit our area???

Take a serious look at the police blotter and reports. It seems to me that it is no worse now during the height of the TC tournament than it is during the off seasons for tourism.

My business does is not directly tied to tourism, but without the money that this area receives from those individuals, I am sure that it would suffer greatly. How many of our local jobs and paychecks are tied to the revenue that we receive from these visitors?????

I do not carte blanche support TC, the contract revisions seem fishy at best, but I have not perceived their presence here this summer to be any worse than the many families that are here at other times.

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Steve Lewis 6 years, 4 months ago

Declining TC numbers remain a distinct possibility.

Perhaps aggressive countywide field scheduling is the best way. Go another couple years. Then we'll better know the need for new fields or not.

Can't support TC in Emerald.

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