Monday, September 25, 2017

Beloit Discussing New Ballpark...Again

No matter who you ask in baseball circles, I think most would agree that Pohlman Field in Beloit, Wisconsin is one of the worst if not the worst ballpark in all of the minor leagues.  It hasn't had any major upgrades outside of standard maintenance in over 20 years and it is well below current MiLB standards.  The city, the team, and the Midwest League have not minced words about this deficiency and it is no secret that a new or significantly renovated park is absolutely critical for the long-term viability of the franchise in the area.  However, with upwards of 20% unemployment at times of a population just over 30,000, understandably funding a baseball team has not exactly been a priority for the stateline area.  With the downtown experiencing somewhat of a revitalization in the start-up community and MiLB threatening to sunset all grandfathered amendments to ballpark standards by the year 2020, the time is seemingly now or never for this community and this team.  Despite all of the false starts, the 2017-18 offseason could prove to be the most important in franchise history and might finally gain some traction in the talks of a new facility.
Recently, the Snappers released a video using Dow Diamond and the Great Lakes Loons of Midland, Michigan as a model for potential renaissance in the area.  The power of a ballpark - particularly in this small of a community - to jump-start an entire economy is debatable at best, but the video is still worth a watch for anybody with a vested interest in Snappers baseball (and if you're still reading this I'm guessing you do).  The goal is obviously to drum up support for the board and the city by citing past success in a similar city as an example.  I feel torn as I usually do on new ballpark issues.  On one hand a project of this magnitude has the potential to really promote Beloit tourism and lifestyle, and I obviously don't want the team to leave, but on the other hand it also has the chance to completely devastate and bankrupt the area if not implemented correctly.  There have been talks in recent years about the team perhaps being more viable in nearby Janesville, a city with twice as many people and home to a state college (two if you count UW-Whitewater 30 miles away).  It's unclear what region the Snappers are looking to build in as it is still the preliminary stages.
Regardless, after years of ignoring half-assed attempts to build a quality ballpark in Beloit, this may finally be the time not to laugh it off.  I've been going to Snappers games for over 10 years so I am definitely eager to see how this plays out.  Hopefully, no matter what happens, Dollar Beer Night will remain.
Brewers 82-74, -5.5, -2.0 WC (3 v. Reds, 3 @ Cardinals)
Reds 66-90, -21.5, eliminated (3 @ Brewers, 3 @ Cubs)
Twins 82-74, -16.0, +4.5 WC (3 @ Indians, 3 v. Tigers)

Erik - 13 (+33 worked)
Peter - 35

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