Fans speculate as city hosts its third annual Big League weekend March 20-21 in the Alamodome.
By Jose Arredondo
As 24,534 fans watched, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Texas Rangers 11-3 in an exhibition Saturday at the Alamodome.
Although it was a lopsided game, the fans were engaged throughout its entirety, and several said it proved San Antonio can support a Major League Baseball team.
They sang an ear-piercing version of “Take Me out to The Ball Game” with power and conviction.
Big League Weekend drew fans from outside of the city.
Washington, D.C., native Rachel McClung has attended several of MLB’s regular season games and applauded Big League Weekend.
“It was very fun,” McClung said. “I’ve been to a ton of baseball games and this was pretty close to a Major League game.”
Rangers fans of San Antonio Hollie Hamilton and Robert Valadez said that Big League Weekend — which filled more than a third of the 60,000-capacity Alamodome — said San Antonio deserves a Major League Baseball team.
“We have had a AA baseball team since the late 1800s,” Valadez said. “San Antonio deserves a professional baseball team.”
Hamilton said this city’s size is enough evidence.
“San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the U.S. in population, and we still don’t have a pro baseball or NFL team,” she said.
According to Quickfacts.census.gov, the population of San Antonio in 2013 was 1.4 million.
This city has five professional sports franchises, the Spurs, men’s basketball; Silver Stars, women’s basketball; Missions baseball, a AA farm team for the San Diego Padres; Rampage, ice hockey; and Scorpions, men’s soccer.
However, the Spurs, an NBA franchise since 1972, is the only major team in town.
According to NBA.com, the Spurs average 18,611 fans at each game this season.
Even though basketball dominates San Antonio, this city also attends the Missions baseball games.
Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, where the Missions play, averaged 4,269 in attendance per game in an 82-game season last year.
This city has supported UTSA football since the team made its debut in 2011.
According to UTSAToday.edu, when the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners played their first football game Sept. 3, 2011, it shattered an NCAA record for inaugural game attendance with 56,743 fans.
“UTSA broke two NCAA records for attendance,” Valadez said. “
If we can have a large following for a college team, then we can definitely get a large following to support a Major League Baseball team.”
Fans are not the only people who believe so.
Francisco Javier Bautista, a San Diego native and Grammy-nominated singer better known as Frankie J, said, “I think San Antonio definitely deserves a baseball team; it’s very diverse, and the fans are passionate.”
Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, a 2009 Cy Young winner, had four shut-out innings and three strikeouts.
Greinke said he relished the atmosphere.
“It had the feeling of a big league stadium, and that was the best part about it,” Grienke said. “It felt like the big leagues out there.”
Two-time MLB All-Star and Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus enjoyed the city’s hospitality for his third Big League Weekend.
“We’ve been coming here for the past three years and it’s always a lot of fun,” Andrus said.
“I love the energy, the passion, and they always support us in the right way.”