More stadium proposals could lure Bears out of Yakima

More stadium proposals could lure Bears out of Yakima »Play Video
Yakima Bears mascot.
YAKIMA, Wash. -- While Major League Baseball is underway, we're still a month and a half away from seeing the Yakima Bears take the field.

The team is here for another season, But, management's made no secret about its intention to get a new stadium even if it means leaving Yakima. So, what are the team's prospects for 2013.

It's home, but not the sweet home the Yakima Bears want.

Bids are on the way to redo the infield with 30 tons of dirt before the season. That's far short of the work the team says the stadium needs to meet the requirements for minor league baseball.

Where will the Bears be in 2013?

"That's a good question," answered Yakima Bears General Manager K.L. Wombacher. "At this point, we don't know. You know, it's tough to say we're not gonna be here."

The Bears saw its dream of a new ballpark on the old Cascade mill site give way to plans for a regional soccer complex. Vancouver, Washington also said no to a new stadium the Bears thought was a done deal. Now, two ballparks in Oregon could be in the works.

Milwaukie and Hillsboro are both considering stadiums. Hillsboro's could be ready in time for the 20-13 season if it gets the go ahead.

"If they got 'em built, we would take a look at it," Wombacher said.

Hope is not lost on getting something going in Yakima before the current lease expires in 2015. It depends on how far county commissioners are willing to go to renovate the current stadium to bring it up to standards

Can that be workable?

"You know, we're in the process of bringing in architects to determine that. It's more about the price tag I think and how much will it cost to renovate versus building new," Wombacher said.

The work the Bears say is needed would run in the millions.

"Currently, Yakima County does not have the resources to support independently, those types of requests and we are committed as a Board of Commissioners to live within our means," said Yakima County Commissioner Mike Leita. "Not simply just to go the taxpayers unless, unless something is dire."

The long-term future remains uncertain, but Wombacher says the Bears plan to be here for 2013.

There are only informal talks going on between the team and the county at the moment. They've met twice this year, including this afternoon.

Both cities in Oregon have key meetings in May that could determine whether their stadium projects move forward.