Will Astros bring AAA baseball to The Woodlands?

By: Brian Duval, WOL Sports Director
| Published 02/20/2014


For the past year, there have been media reports, rumors and talk of the Houston Astros brining a minor league baseball team to The Woodlands/Conroe area to be their AAA-affiliate.


I’ve been doing some digging through various sources to try to find out what’s going on and where things currently stand with bringing minor league baseball to Montgomery County.

Current Situation

Astros owner Jim Crane’s plan is to secure a deal with Montgomery County to build a ballpark around the current site of Camp Strake. The Boy Scouts currently occupy Camp Strake until the end of 2014, when they’ll move into their new facility in New Waverly. Johnson Development has bought the Camp Strake site with intentions to build a new master planned community, however with space reserved for a minor league ballpark on the opposite side of the new community. Camp Strake isn’t the only particular site in Montgomery County that the Astros would consider; however they do want to be as close to The Woodlands as they could be - being north of Conroe doesn’t seem to interest either party.

The Astros have a real interest in getting a AAA-team close to home. There’s a new and growing trend in Major League Baseball with teams having their AAA-affiliates somewhat close. The Astros want a team in Montgomery County because of its close, but not too close, proximity to Minute Maid Park. Currently its a 7-hour drive from Minute Maid to downtown Oklahoma City, where as it’s 41 miles from the Camp Strake site to downtown Houston.

Montgomery County would have to provide infrastructure for the new ballpark, making it easier to get on and off I-45. Being close to I-45 is essential to site selection of a potential new minor league ballpark and what makes the site so attractive to the Astros and Montgomery County. The Astros also like that The Woodlands area is a family-oriented community, and that goes hand-in-hand with what how minor league baseball markets themselves.

Unfortunately the Astros and Montgomery County officials haven’t had much time to get together as the Astros have been busy fighting a legal battle with Comcast SportsNet Houston. CSN Houston is currently in bankruptcy proceedings and according to papers filed in court, is around $60 million in debt. The Astros are owed a little more than $27 million and were not paid their television rights fees for the final three months of the 2013 season. This could very well spell trouble for the Astros and the prospect of bringing a minor league team to the area.

Jim Crane is wanting to buy an existing minor league team and relocate it to Montgomery County to be the AAA-affiliate of the Houston Astros. My sources tell me that Crane would purchase the team, build the stadium, however he does not want to buy the land, unless he would have no other choice.

Knowing how fast things are growing in The Woodlands area, there’s probably a three-to-four year window at which we would be looking at all of this to take place. If the deal does happen, there will be minor league baseball in Montgomery County by opening day of 2017 or 2018 at the latest.

What to watch for

The interesting thing is the current legal battle between the Astros and CSN Houston and what appears to be either holding things up, or at the very least stalling any movement. Now, the Astros could work on the Montgomery County deal while going through the CSN Houston legal proceedings at the same time, however, the bankruptcy/reorganization of CSN Houston could take up to a year. The legal proceedings could tie up the Astros lawyers with so much legal drama they may not be able to keep up with the pace of growth here in the area. The quicker the resolution of CSN Houston and the Astros, the better it will be for the prospect of minor league baseball in Montgomery County.

If the legal proceedings take longer than expected, while The Woodlands area continues to grow faster than my 2-year old, the deal could very well strike out the Astros bringing their brand of baseball to The Woodlands.

Comments •
Log In to Comment