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September 22, 2019

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Las Vegas to host Triple-A baseball championship game

Las Vegas Aviators Home Opener

Las Vegas News Bureau

Fans watch the opening day game between the Las Vegas Aviators and Sacramento River Cats at the Las Vegas Ballpark Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Las Vegas. (David Becker/Las Vegas News Bureau)

LV Aviators Host National Championship

Branch Rickey, left, Pacific Coast League president, speaks during a press conference to announce that the Las Vegas Aviators will host the 2020 Ephesus Sports Lighting Triple-A National Championship Game on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019 at the Las Vegas Ballpark. The game, to be held at the Las Vegas Ballpark, will feature the champion of the Pacific Coast League against the the champion of the International League in a one-game, winner-take-all showdown for Triple-A supremacy. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas Aviators President Don Logan, who sits on the board of the Joint Minor League Baseball Marketing Committee, didn’t have to work hard convincing his colleagues where to host next year’s Triple-A National Championship Game.

Party at his place. “And they know I can throw a party,” Logan said with a smile.

The Aviators and Minor League Baseball announced today that Las Vegas Ballpark will host the game, which pits the champions of the Pacific Coast League and International League in a winner-take-all-contest, on Sept. 22, 2020.

Next year’s national championship will be the 15th game under the current format. This year’s game is scheduled for Sept. 17 in Memphis, Tenn.

Next year will be the first time the game is played in Las Vegas. Under the old Triple-A World Series format of a five-game set, Las Vegas and Cashman Field hosted from 1998-2000. But Las Vegas hasn’t gotten much attention for leaguewide events since.

The All-Star Game hasn’t been in Las Vegas since 1990. A big reason for that has been other cities building new stadiums while Cashman Field continued to age.

Then the Aviators — previously the 51s — moved into the baseball palace known as the Las Vegas Ballpark and everything changed.

“Las Vegas is back in the game,” Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner said. “I don’t think there’s any question that if you want to highlight the quality of play, the quality of operation, the cities in a circuit, you want to come to the best of the best. And right now that’s certainly Las Vegas.”

“If this is not on somebody’s short list, then it’s not a legitimate list,” O’Conner said of the Las Vegas Ballpark.

Baseball players, fans and officials have been in awe of the Las Vegas Ballpark during its inaugural season. Visiting players gush about not only the field but facilities such as the batting cages and weight rooms inside.

Fans have flocked to the stadium, helping lead the Aviators in the country in attendance across Minor League Baseball.

PCL President Branch Rickey and his IL counterpart, Randy Mobley, were in town for today’s announcement and said they planned to take in Monday’s game against Reno.

It’s been a long time coming for Las Vegas — a top destination for most things — to become a premier destination for baseball. “We’re the belle of the ball, finally,” Logan said.