MARTINEZ -- Plans for a professional baseball team to call this city home for the upcoming season have been put on hold.
The Martinez Clippers, set to be a part of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball, had been tentatively set to start their first season in June and held tryouts last month. But because of the high costs of securing temporary lights for the baseball field at Waterfront Park, the 2014 season has been scrapped, according to a city news release.
City leaders hope the Clippers can be up and running in time for the 2015 season, as long as improvements to Waterfront Park facilities -- paid for by Measure H money -- are complete. Those improvements could include additional seating, parking, new lighting and creating a premier field to accommodate a baseball team, according to the release.
"All proposals must be reviewed by our City Council and through the normal public process," said Interim City Manager Anna Gwyn Simpson in the release. "Having said that, we still believe bringing in a professional team is a remarkable opportunity for our community and sports lovers from around the East Bay. The planned improvements under consideration to our waterfront baseball complex would make this an appealing and desirable location."
A season would likely consist of 82 games, with 41 of those expected to be played in Martinez.
Pacific Association of Professional Baseball currently has clubs in San Rafael, Vallejo, Sonoma, Hawaii and Maui. The association has a goal to establish 10 teams in the Bay Area, according to Mayor Rob Schroder.
The Martinez Clippers, which will be owned by Cris and Wayne Franklin and Tom Macari, would wear pinstriped uniforms to honor Martinez' own Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio.
Though it won't happen this year, Schroder said the trio is still committed to Martinez.
"They like the location and the feeling in town and the waterfront," he said.
The news of a professional baseball team in Martinez has elicited some community excitement, as well as fears among some residents over noise, traffic and how the use of the field would impact youth and adult baseball at Waterfront Park.
Schroder said he is sure those issues can, and will, be worked out.
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.