Opinion: Atlantic City, NJ – Let’s Use Sandcastle Stadium for More Baseball
It's time for the Sandcastle to start hosting baseball games again.
The movie Field of Dreams famously said, "if you build it, they will come."
This is one of the situations.
If Sandcastle Stadium gets lights installed and the scoreboard replaced, games should follow. According to a recent story in The Press of Atlantic City, the stadium needs about $1 million worth of repairs, per city officials.
Think of it as an investment into the kids and making Atlantic City the baseball capital of South Jersey.
Forget bringing back a minor league baseball team, which I'm not opposed to. How about a weekly Friday night high school baseball game of the week under the lights, a Cape-Atlantic League Baseball Tournament, and even the Joe Hartman Diamond Classic semifinals and championship games?
You can play games from the South Jersey South Shore Baseball League (SJSSBL) there on Fridays in the summer and have select SJSSBL playoff games and their championship. The league also has a great all-star game that could also be housed there.
Atlantic Shore Babe Ruth is one of the premier Babe Ruth programs in the country and could host regional tournaments and even a World Series, which would bring 10 teams into the city from all over the country for 10 days.
We recently saw well attended night games involving Mainland and Clearview at Birch Grove Park in Northfield, Cedar Creek and Oakcrest at Underhill Park in Mays Landing, and Ocean City played Middle Township at Amanda's Field in Upper Township.
How about Friday doubleheaders at the Sandcastle with 5 and 7:30 PM start times?
Think of "Friday Night Lights" for baseball games.
The games could be a weekly family event and could all be streamed live on BFA Sports to give it more of a big game feel and give the kids more exposure and a bigger audience to see them play. Night games bring out friends and family.
You'll see rival teams coming out to see their friends play and people who don't get to come out to see games at 4 PM during the week.
You would be sure to attract crowds and generate a few bucks in the process through parking, ticket sales, and concessions.
Play two games every Friday during the season, plus the CAL Tournament and other select games. Those types of games would generate more interest than any non-affiliated baseball team would.
If you want to use this high school format to help generate interest in the stadium, you can look to explore adding a team down the road, but the stadium can still be an asset to the city.
The South Jersey baseball community is strong and high school baseball in this area is about as good as it's ever been, let's put Sandcastle Stadium back in business to showcase the talent in the area.