After years of rumor and false starts, the city of West Chester, Pa., has snared the Philadelphia Phillies as a partner of sorts on a new ballpark, with the Phils pledging a Class A team for the facility if the city will build. And the city will build.
The plan is for the West Chester Redevelopment Authority to build a $40-million ballpark and then lease it to the Phillies, who would place a team and run the facility and the franchise. The ballpark would hold between 4,000 and 5,000 fans and be located on the former Wyeth Labratories site, at S. Bolmar and E. Nields streets.
The Philies have not yet committed on a team — only that it would be a Class A team. It certainly won’t be a High Class A team, with the Clearwater Threshers (High Class A; Florida State League) team firmly in place. (Adding another team to the Phillies minor-league portfolio would not be surprising: the team either owns or has invested in at least four affiliates.) The Phils’ Low Class A affiliate in Lakewood, N.J., certainly seems solid. That would leave us with short season A, and with at least one NY-Penn League team on the market (Batavia is reportedly for sale), we’re already hearing whispers about that level of ball being the target.
A 2013 opening is planned.
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