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Las Vegas 51s ballpark won’t be built with MLB in mind

There once was a time when cities considered building minor league ballparks with a major league specification in mind. Just in case the Athletics or Expos were looking to move again.

That time was about 35 years ago, 51s president Don Logan said.

That’s probably why nobody has addressed the possibility of Las Vegas Ballpark in Summerlin breaking ground with a mindset it can be expanded to accommodate major league baseball.

“The infrastructure needed for a major league stadium is totally different,” Logan said in his office cubbyhole Friday, with giddy knowledge he’ll finally be getting a larger cubbyhole for the 2019 season. “In particular, just the land. The site our stadium is going to go on is 8.3 acres. Major league stadiums need 15, 20 acres. Plus you have to have bigger capacity for sewer, water, power, things like that.”

In Las Vegas, you’d also need a retractable roof to control the climate for the Kershaws and the Keuchels. The additional cost of a “spartan” roof, as Logan called it, would be about half a billion dollars. Not even the LVCVA has that kind of money to spend on baseball.

“That sounded good years and years ago,” Logan said of building a Triple-A ballpark so it could be retrofit with major league amenities. “But there hasn’t been a minor league stadium built with the thought of expanding it probably in the last 20 years.”

Logan checked his swing and appealed to the first-base umpire.

“I think maybe this one,” he said about Cashman Field breaking ground in 1981 with a big league team in mind. “So 35 years. We can’t even handle the sewer we have, so can you imagine quadrupling the size of this place? That would be a challenge.”

The Mighty Quinneys

He scored 55 goals for the International Hockey League’s Las Vegas Thunder in their first year of existence, then lit the red light 40, 33, 37 and 34 additional times before the Thunder rolled down the mountain of extinction.

Ken Quinney was one of Las Vegas’ first ice hockey stars, though he was much too reserved to seek adulation. But when he kept beating the goaltender like a rented mule, to borrow the parlance of Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Lange, adulation found him.

Now it would appear it is finding his 22-year-old son, Gage, among the last training camp cuts of the two-time defending champion Penguins. In his first game for Pittsburgh’s top affiliate at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Quinney registered his first American Hockey League goal and two assists.

I know papa, who played parts of three seasons for the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques and is a firefighter in Las Vegas, must be proud. In a quiet sort of way.

Evel twins

Did you read where two of the three fountains at Caesars Palace have been covered up with a Samsung telephone kiosk?

If Evel Knievel were still with us, he’d probably ask the Samsung people where the hell were they 50 years ago.

On Dec. 31, 1967, the dauntless daredevil suffered a crushed pelvis and femur, fractures to a hip, wrist and both ankles, and a concussion while trying to leap his motorcycle over Caesars’ iconic water features.

When his limp body finally came to rest, it was in the Dunes’ parking lot. Where Bellagio now stands. Bellagio also has iconic fountains, and one only hopes they don’t get plowed under by a Wienerschnitzel hot dog stand.

Bryant: classy to the end

Long after the Dodgers had bludgeoned the reigning world champions from the baseball playoffs and many of the Cubs ducked out of the clubhouse without answering difficult questions, one Cub stood at his locker, patiently answering all of them.

Wrote Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times: “At the 11th hour — literally, it was 11 p.m. on the dot — Kris Bryant at last stopped answering questions. But he shook hands with every one of the Cubs beat writers in this crazy town. He looked each in the eye and said thanks.

Thanks for what? It’s hard to say. Maybe we’ll ask him in Mesa.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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