Signs of Things to Come: To Move Team from El Paso if Stadium Not Improved - Paul Foster's Threat to Move Western Refine. Headquarters After Losing San Jacinto Plaza Renovation Battle
He's done it before, why Foster, like other team owners, will extort the City of El Paso to his benefit
In late March of 1984, a moving company secretly packed up the Baltimore Colts’ belongings and its fleet of vans sneaked off in the darkness of the early morning. Leaving a city of deeply devoted fans in shock and disbelief.
Above is the description of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “The Band that Wouldn't Die.” The above title is probably something we can see in the future.
I was very young when I saw the 60 Minutes coverage of the Colts midnight move to Indianapolis from Baltimore. More than two decades later, team owners continue to hold cities hostage. They threaten to move if improvements are not made to stadiums, if they don't get more profit, if the cities' don't cover more of the expenses.
In November 2011, El Pasoans won a major battle against a local tycoon. After a 6-month campaign to save Luis Jimenez “Los Lagartos” sculpture from being removed from San Jacinto Plaza, the City Council voted to keep the sculpture as its centerpiece.
Paul Foster wanted the sculpture removed and to put in a much despised plan that he “generously” paid for. In the spring of 2011, then city representative Robert O'Rourke, pushed Foster's plan to revamp San Jacinto Plaza. O'Rourke told the El Paso Times he wanted the park to look like a park in New York including the closing of Oregon Street just east of the Mills Building. Although this street closing may have been more of a “gift” for Foster, it was Rep. Steve Ortega who took the torch after O'Rourke left office and O'Rourke was saved from attack.
In the discussion, Foster's people said on the record at a El Paso City Council Meeting that Foster would pull out if he did not get his way.
In the fall of 2012, Foster lost. The city representatives voted to keep Los Lagartos as its centerpiece even though Ann Morgan Lilly, Corney Nilan, and Steve Ortega voted against the measures.
Within about a month after Foster's defeat, his company Western Refining announced “that it will reduce its 85-person corporate headquarters roster by 50 and relocate most of them to Arizona has raised concerns about the future of the company's headquarters in El Paso” (El Paso Inc. 11/15/20122 “City wants to halt Western move”).
Was this retribution for Foster not getting his way?
Is not this what team owner do to city after city, a type of extortion, that the team will leave if the team owner does not get his way?
More important, now that Foster wants to become a baseball team owner: Is this what we will see in the future?
Most likely yes, because if he can do it without a baseball team, he'll do it with one.