Edmonton bids adieu to Trappers

The Edmonton Trappers are heading south.

The Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos, which bought the triple-A baseball team in 1999, have sold the Trappers to Round Rock Baseball Inc. for $10.4 million US.

Trappers will play out the 2004 Pacific Coast League season in Edmonton before moving to Texas.

They become the third western Canadian triple-A club to head south for financial reasons in recent years.

The PCL's Vancouver Canadians moved to Sacramento, Calif., after winning the 1999 triple-A World Series, and the Calgary Cannons went to Albuquerque, N.M., following their 2002 season.

Ottawa Lynx of the International League is now the sole Canadian triple-A club.

The sale is subject to the approval of the Major League Baseball commissioner, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues and the PCL.

The Eskimos soon will begin discussions with the city regarding Telus Field, the home of the Trappers.

"This was a very difficult decision for us," said Eskimos president Hugh Campbell. "We originally purchased the Trappers to keep them in Edmonton. However, the PCL has changed significantly."

Campbell added the Eskimos will use the profit from the sale to pay off the baseball team's debts and replenish the football club's stabilization fund, which was utilized to buy the Trappers.

The Round Rock Express is a double-A team playing in the Texas League.

Its president and chief executive is Reid Ryan, son of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.

The plan is to renovate the Dell Diamond in Round Rock next year before moving the Trappers. The Express would then move to Corpus Christi, Tex.

with files from Canadian Press