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Archives: Sept. 17-23, 2007

Archives: Sept. 17-23, 2007

Ballpark Digest announces inaugural Awards of Distinction
Posted Sept. 20, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Three ballparks, one sports management organization and a longtime league president are receiving top honors this week with the announcement of the inaugural Ballpark Digest Awards of Distinction. (You can listen to editors making the announcements here.)
    New Ballpark of the Year honors are shared by Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, Ark. and Dow Diamond in Midland, Mich. The award for Best Ballpark Renovation goes to Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Organization of the Year is awarded to Mandalay Sports Entertainment for successes recorded by franchises Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, Staten Island Yankees, Dayton Dragons, Hagerstown Suns, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the Erie SeaWolves. South Atlantic League founder and president John Henry Moss received the individual Award of Distinction.
    New Ballpark of the Year: Dickey-Stephens Park, designed by HKS Sports Entertainment Group and built by East-Harding/Hensel Phelps Construction, features an interesting and unique railroad theme. The new home of the Arkansas Travelers includes a stunning view of downtown Little Rock, a landmark clock tower and affordable concessions.
    New Ballpark of the Year: Dow Diamond, designed by HOK Sport and built by Three Rivers Corp., is built on a grand scale with fireplaces on each side of the concourse and fire pits in the outfield – a unique reflection of mid-Michigan’s rural character. Home to the newly established Great Lakes Loons, Dow Diamond includes a two-tiered fan shop and self-contained concourse.
    Best Ballpark Renovation: Melaleuca Field, formerly known as McDermott Field, now features a gorgeous grandstand and group seating areas with a generous amount of brick work throughout the ballpark, making for an inviting and warm, classic feel. Home to the Idaho Falls Chukars, the extensive renovations designed locally by architect Kevin Bodily of Nielson, Bodily and Associates were accomplished on a tight budget.
    Baseball Organization of the Year: Mandalay Sports Entertainment not only breathed some new life into two struggling baseball communities in 2007, but recorded increased attendance numbers at all six of its baseball franchises. Working jointly with the New York Yankees, Mandalay turned operations around both at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Staten Island. They join the Dayton, Hagerstown, Frisco, Las Vegas, Rancho Cucamonga and Erie franchises as quality baseball operations with a growing attendance trend line and – not coincidentally – strong reputations for putting the fans’ experience first.
    The 2007 individual Award of Distinction: John Henry Moss, founder and president of the South Atlantic League, has overseen the Sally League and its predecessors for half a century and kept the baseball tradition alive through some very lean times. With 50 years of experience since he founded the eight-team Western Carolina League in 1948, the longest-serving minor-league president in history plans to step down at the end of this year. Moss not only nurtured the league through reorganization and many difficult years a generation ago, but in more recent years he has expanded the sweep of South Atlantic League with franchises located from Georgia to Ohio.
    Ballpark Digest received a total of 32 nominations for the inaugural Awards of Distinction. In addition to the award winners, several finalists received recognition. Those finalists include: Joe Faber Field – home of the St. Cloud (Minn.) River Bats, Damaschke Field – home of the Oneonta (NY.) Tigers, and Joannes Stadium – home of the Green Bay Bullfrogs, all three vying for Best Ballpark Renovation; and Rent One Ballpark – home of the Southern Illinois Miners in Marion, for New Ballpark of the Year.
    The 2007 Ballpark Digest Awards of Distinction will be formally presented in early December at baseball’s winter meetings in Nashville.
    "Baseball takes great pride in John Henry Moss and his five decades of accomplishment, as well as the collective efforts of so many who contributed to the tremendous successes at Mandalay Sports Entertainment and the award-winning ballparks in North Little Rock, Midland and Idaho Falls," said Kevin Reichard, founder of "We thank everyone who participated in the nomination process, and appreciate the opportunity to present these well-deserved 2007 Awards of Distinction."

Indians to sell naming rights to Jacobs Field, hire IMG
Posted Sept. 20, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Cleveland Indians are selling the naming rights to their ballpark and hired sports management company IMG to conduct the search. The Indians play at Jacobs Field, which was named after owner Richard E. Jacobs when it opened in 1994. Jacobs, who sold the team in 2000, owned the rights through the 2006 season. The club was talking to potential rights-buyers and decided to look for outside help four or five months ago, said Vic Gregovits, the Indians’ senior vice president for sales and marketing. The deal probably won’t be as much as it could have been when the ballpark opened; fans will likely continue calling it The Jake no matter what name is hung on the outside.

Today’s video: Lehigh Valley IronPigs commercial
Posted Sept. 20, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Michael Bourn lend their talents to this TV spot hawking season tickets for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League), who begin play next season. Noteworthy: Howard showing his toughest IronPig snarl. We’d love to post your videos and share them with the baseball world; just email them to us at You can view all the videos in our collection here.

Crystal Lake rejects MCC expansion plan, new ballpark
Posted Sept. 20, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
McHenry Community College hit a snag in efforts to expand its campus Wednesday night when a Crystal Lake panel voted down the college’s plan. Citing concerns about traffic and flooding, the Crystal Lake planning and zoning commission voted not to recommend approval to the city council. The expansion plan includes a new ballpark for the college team and an independent Frontier League team. The panel doesn’t have the final say; the city council does. More from the Northwest Herald.

Dodgers, Padres, Mariners could play in China
Posted Sept. 20, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners are being considered by Major League Baseball for possible exhibition games in China during spring training. The games would be played during the second week of March, two baseball officials familiar with the planning said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the trip was still in the planning stages. Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer, has pushed for the games, which would be played at the ballpark built for next year’s Olympics in Beijing.

Winston-Salem prepares for new ballpark
Posted Sept. 20, 2007 (feedback) (submit story) (discuss)
A small army of backhoes, bulldozers and dump trucks is making tough work look easy, leveling steep, kudzu-lined slopes to clear the site of Winston-Salem’s planned downtown ballpark. The future home of the Winston-Salem Warthogs (High Class A; Carolina League), construction on the new facility could start in mid- or late November. At that pace, the 5,500-seat ballpark will probably be ready for the Warthogs by the time the 2009 season starts — weather permitting.