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El Paso Chihuahuas could impact youth baseball

By: Stacey Welsh

EL PASO, Texas -- Youth baseball players aren't quite ready for the major leagues, but a city partnership with El Paso's anticipated Triple A team could help them get there.

"I was kind of waiting for the team to get settled here in El Paso before we approach them with some ideas for youth baseball," El Paso Parks and Recreation Sports Manager Paula Powell said.

Powell said a partnership with the El Paso Chihuahuas could boost youth baseball popularity.

"I expect a good partnership and working some camps. Maybe baseball night where the kids go to the games, and we would introduce them to the team like we used to do with the Diablos," Powell said.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the kids, and I think it's really good to encourage them to play baseball. Not only when they're little, but in middle school, high school and maybe the big leagues," far-east El Paso resident Yvette Saavedra said.

Young players said they are looking forward to the possibility of learning new skills from the professionals. "We could just know the players and train with them," West Texas Rebels team member Sergio Navarro said.

While the University of Texas at El Paso does not have a baseball program, UTEP Senior Associate Athletic Director Jeff Darby said the university is looking into a relationship with the Chihuahuas.

"Our marketing director, Daniel Veale, has remained in close contact with Angela Olivas, the Chihuahuas' manager of marketing communications. Angela was a member of the UTEP Athletics media relations staff for many years. Their relationship is not so much a partnership as supporting one another in brainstorming ways to promote each others' organizations and cater to the fans," Darby said.

Youth baseball teams from El Paso are not the only ones that could benefit from a partnership with the Chihuahuas.

"They do include all the way from Socorro, Anthony, Chaparral. We even have teams from Las Cruces and from Mexico. You know all of those teams are part of El Paso," Powell said.

Powell also said having a professional team in El Paso could bring more tournaments to town and boost the economy.

"The big youth baseball tournaments go to cities that have major league teams. Now that we have our Chihuahuas, people will look at us a little bit differently when we bid for those tournaments," Powell said.



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