Hampton (VA) Mayor George Wallace believes America’s pastime could be used to connect the city’s historic downtown with its largest commercial district. He is exploring building a new downtown ballpark for the summer collegiate Peninsula Pilots (Coastal Plain League). The team currently plays at War Memorial Stadium built in 1948. Read more here.
Hampton (VA) Considers New Downtown Ballpark
Filed under Design & Construction, Market & Location, Stadium Issues
6 responses to “Hampton (VA) Considers New Downtown Ballpark”
Does this mean that former Single-A cities across the land will finally get those fancy new ballparks the affiliated desired only a few short years ago? Heck, the Columbia, S.C. area, is getting two brand new ballparks built at the time of this writing.
That may be true because of economic conditions, but it misses the point. The point is: (1) a number of summer collegiate leagues have earned enough legitimacy over the years to garner new ballparks (similar to when the Frontier League, for example, earned their stripes and secured their first new ballparks), and (2) these stadiums can be build for far cheaper than affiliated or indy pro facilities, while delivering the same minor league experience in communities that may or may not be able to support pro ball. Expect this summer collegiate trend to continue.
And that’s not even counting the ballpark which the University of South Carolina built, which is easily an A level park. It’s unfortunate that there is not more sharing of ballparks between colleges and minor leagues outside of the short season leagues. Seems a waste of money for Columbia to be building a A level park when they already have one that is not used for most of the summer.
In a perfect world the ballpark in Columbia would be shared, but the university and pro ball have been at odds with one another for quite some time in regards to their ballparks. The Blowfish will have a quirky, modern little facility in Franklin Township that will be suitable or their level of baseball. The Gamecocks will have their stamp all over the ballpark, while a future team (Sand Gnats perhaps?) will slide easily into their new digs sometime in the next few seasons.
I think the problem with shared stadium usage is, outside of short-season and maybe some of the independent leagues, is schedule conflicts.
Look out for the Coastal Plain League. With the Forest City Owls playing in a ballpark built for them, new stadiums being built for the Columbia (Lexington County) Blowfish and expansion Holly Springs Salamanders, and potential new ballparks on deck for the Gastonia Grizzlies and Peninsula Pilots, summer collegiate ball is being taken to a whole new level in the Carolinas. Expect this trend to continue at this level, just like it has with the legitimate indy pro circuits.