Amarillo: As Hodgetown Debuts the Sod Poodles El Paso’s Cohen Stadium Gets Torn Down
Feature Photo (above): Hodgetown stadium at dusk. Courtesy: Google Streets/Kim Hill.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Amarillo (Potter County) — Before the month of April gets away from us, let’s take a moment to celebrate the grand opening of Hodgetown, Amarillo’s new Minor League Baseball stadium, and say goodbye to El Paso’s Cohen Stadium.
Virtual Builders Exchange has been following this project for four years and we did a write-up on it in 2017. See HERE.
The Amarillo Sod Poodles played their first home opener in Hodgetown on April 8 against the Midland Rockhounds to an over-capacity crowd of 7,125 fans, according to Ballpark Digest. The stadium holds 6,631.
Meanwhile, the El Paso City Council on April 2 awarded a contract to JMR Demolition Ltd. for the dismantling of another minor league baseball field–Cohen Stadium. (Read below).
Aerial view courtesy of Google Streets/Chris Hale and 806 Aerial.
The Sod Poodles are the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres and the owner, Elmore Sports Group, moved the team from San Antonio, where they were known as the Missions.
Sod Poodles is obviously a cooler name, but never having heard the term we had to look it up. It is an old settlers’ slang term for prairie dogs and the company Brandiose came up with the name, logo and other branding merchandise, according to this Fox Sports report.
The mascot us Ruckus, a cowboy prairie dog.
Don’t worry about San Antonio. They still have a team. Elmore Sports Group gave the city a Class AAA Pacific Coast League team from Colorado Springs.
Sod Poodle fans enjoying a night game at Hodgetown. Courtesy: Google Streets/Tyler Kraft.
Hodgetown Development Team:
Owner: City of Amarillo
Construction Manager: Western Builders/AECOM Hunt Joint Venture
Hodgetown stadium in downtown Amarillo. Courtesy: Google Streets/Stephanie T.
Aerial shot of Hodgetown by Chris Hale/806 Aerial, as posted to Google Streets.
El Paso | Cohen Stadium:
El Paso-based JMR Demolition was the second lowest bidder of eight companies that made offers to tear down Cohen Stadium, former home of the El Paso Diablos. The ballpark opened in 1990 and had capacity for 9,725 people.
Cohen Stadium was used as a venue for baseball, soccer, boxing, concerts and festivals until 2017.
City Council has been considering plans for a mixed-use development on the 50-acre site that includes the stadium. In 2017, EXIGO Architecture prepared a conceptual master plan for the new development. See the 2018 VBX article: Reimagining Cohen Stadium.
The eight bidders for the demolition contract included JR Ramon & Sons Inc. of San Antonio; MFH Environmental Corp. of El Paso; and Tasman Geosciences of Denver, Colorado; D.H. Griffin of Texas Inc. (Houston); Hunter Demolition & Wrecking Corp of Poteet; International Eagle Enterprises Inc. of El Paso; and Border Demolition and Environmental Inc. of El Paso.
JMR’s price was $849,420. Except for Border Demolition, which came in at $566,814, all the other bids were above $1 million.
JMR was given 120 days to complete the construction job. A condition of the contract is that JMR must salvage and relocate to the El Paso International Airport a number of reusable items. The salvage list includes:
All stadium seating
All monumental light poles
All stadium lighting
Steel mast structures (including the fabric roof structures and suspension cables)
Stadium scoreboard and associated accessories
Outfield distance numbers
All foul ball posts
A Komen Race for the Cure: Survivors event at Cohen Stadium in 2016. Courtesy: Google Streets/Eddie Dubitsky.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.