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Diablos Ready For New Season At Cohen With Triple-A Looming

The pending bond election has brought a lot of talk in El Paso about Triple-A baseball and even a new Downtown ballpark.

Meanwhile, the El Paso Diablos, whose days could be numbered, are gearing up for Thursday’s opening day, marking the start of their 23rd season at Cohen Stadium in Northeast El Paso.

It remains to be seen whether Triple-A baseball and a new $55 million Downtown ballpark are in El Paso’s future. But in the meantime, the El Paso Diablos new ownership team — led by the Tigua tribe — has made some major league changes both on and off the field.

“We’re the El Paso Diablos brand, the brand’s been here for a long time and we feel like we have a pretty good product,” said Diablos’ General Manager Matt LaBranche. “We’ll just go about our business. We’re El Paso’s professional baseball team right now until we’re not.”

Others, like Speaking Rock General Manager Karl Maahs, aren’t worried about a bond election at this point.

“Even if the bond passes, you’re looking at 24 to 36 months before it opens anyway,” Maahs said. “We’re gonna get set for the immediate future like the Triple-A is not gonna happen and we’re gonna pursue the Diablos and put a better quality of product on the field.”

While El Paso waits on the possibility of Triple-A baseball and a Downtown ballpark, the El Paso Diablos and the Tiguas go about their business in Northeast El Paso, where fans will notice some major improvements to the ballpark.

“It was in a lot of disrepair,” Maahs said. “So hopefully when the crowd comes back, starting this week, you’re going to see a big improvement compared to how it has been the last four or five years.”

In addition to the new swimming pool down the right field line, the Cohen Stadium restrooms are getting a makeover, and a new marquee is going up in front of the stadium. In all, more than $100,000 in improvements thanks to the Tiguas.

“Cohen Stadium basically has been given a facelift,” LaBranche said.

The team, which has finished last in three consecutive seasons, has also been given a makeover.

“It helps when you’re winning,” LaBranche added. “We plan on winning this year and it’s just going to add to it.”

LaBranche and Maahs told ABC-7 for the first time ever as an Independent League team, the Tiguas have allowed the Diablos to reach the $115,000 league salary cap.

As far as the pursuit of a Triple-A team for El Paso goes, sources tell ABC-7 that El Paso millionaires Paul Foster and Woody Hunt continue to pursue that possibility. The projected price at this point is $18 million.

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