Professional baseball came to Amarillo in 1922 with the Amarillo Gassers. For more than 90 years, the tradition has continued.
Currently, the game is played by The Sox at the Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium. General Manager Mark Lee says it’s the worst in the Association according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News. The present stadium opened in 1949, and renovated in 2005. The update was too little and too late.
Ryan Mitchell is a pitcher who has played in the arena. Pitchers have to contend with the stadium’s hitter-friendly dimensions, especially if the wind blows toward the outfield. Yet, Mitchell likes playing in Amarillo.
“The fans really support us in this town, especially when we win,” Mitchell said. “It’s really what brings me back. The conditions of the field really just make us work that much harder.”
Terral Shinn is one of the those fans. Shinn, 75, was an Amarillo baseball follower even before the current stadium was built. He attended his first game in 1946, when the team was called, the Amarillo Gold Sox.
Shinn was a batboy as a teenager, and has seen Amarillo baseball played at all professional levels.
“I like to say I sat out here and they built the ballpark around me,” Shinn cracked while sitting in his customary seat prior to a doubleheader against Grand Prairie in August.
His loyalty is simple.
“I love baseball,” Shinn said. “I love this old ballpark; I just wish they’d upgrade this park and keep it right here.”
However, if all goes as planned, The Amarillo Globe-News reported a new stadium is planned downtown. The development has an estimated cost of $113 million, and the new baseball stadium accounts for more than a quarter of that cost.