PRESS RELEASE – On Monday, April 15th, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos will receive the BaseballParks.com Award for 2012 Ballpark of the Year, on behalf of the City of Pensacola and the Community Maritime Park Associates. The award will be presented during the game Monday night by Joe Mock of BaseballParks.com, and will be received by Mayor Ashton Hayward on behalf of the City of Pensacola and Collier Merrill on behalf of the CMPA. Southern League President Lori Webb will also be on hand to participate in the festivities, and members of City Council and Trustees of the CMPA from 2006 to the present have been invited to attend as guests of the Blue Wahoos.
“Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of people have enjoyed our Community Maritime Park and multi-use stadium on beautiful Pensacola Bay,” said Mayor Hayward. “The stadium is a truly special place and an asset for our community. It’s a tremendous honor to be named Ballpark of the Year and to see the hard work of so many be recognized.”
Blue Wahoos owners Quint and Rishy Studer said the award was a well-deserved recognition of the hard work and support by thousands of citizens, advocates, CMPA members, City leaders, and contractors who made the stadium a reality.
“This was not an easy road,” said Quint Studer. “From City Council meetings to a citywide referendum, the change in master developer, and the actual purchasing and relocation of a Double A team which required some adjustments to the stadium, this was a long process. But I believe that the citizens have a place that is a unique part of Pensacola, and all of those who worked tirelessly to support this stadium deserve a big thank-you,” Studer continued. “This award is a well-deserved recognition of all the work that went into this great facility.”
Calling the park “uniquely different,” the review of the stadium by the ballpark website highlighted the background of the stadium, the vision of the Maritime Park, and the specifics of the setting on Pensacola Bay. In 2012, the site named the Blue Wahoos’ home stadium as the Best Ballpark in America, after reviewing dozens of stadiums throughout the year. Mock’s review of the Bayfront Stadium included a detailed breakdown of the various stadium elements, as well as the construction costs.
Compared to other Southern League stadiums, Pensacola’s stadium was a bargain at $18 million, which included almost $3 million in private donations from the Studers. Birmingham just opened their new downtown stadium at a cost of $64 million, while other Southern League cities such as Montgomery (2004), Mississippi (2005), and Jacksonville (2003) have stadiums that cost $26 million, $28 million, and $34 million, respectively, according to BaseballParks.com.
Monday’s home stand opener with the Jacksonville Suns begins at 7pm, with gates opening at 6pm.