Ben Cheney was positioned in his familiar seat, his smiling face watching the proceedings on the field. But everything else about Cheney Stadium was different last night, as the Tacoma Rainiers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) unveiled a renovated ballpark before a large crowd.
You may know the story of Cheney: the Pacific Northwest lumber magnate who invented the 2×4 stud and parlayed his riches into a minority ownership of the San Francisco Giants. (Really.) His passion for baseball extended to his Tacoma home, where he contributed $100,000 toward the cost of a new $940,000 ballpark, later named for him.
In recognition of his accomplishments, a bronze statue of Cheney sitting and watching a ballgame was installed at Cheney Stadium. The statue remained (covered with a wooden box to prevent any damage) while the rest of the ballpark was renovated this offseason.
The Rainiers unveiled the renovations last night before a crowd of 7,202 on a damp night. They saw a ballpark with new infrastructure, luxury boxes, dugout club seats, concessions and restrooms.
“I think, overall, people are really excited,” Rainiers president Aaron Artman told the Seattle Times. “It goes beyond going to a baseball game. This is a structure, a building people can drive by and feel such a great amount of pride for. Sometimes Tacoma takes its knocks for various things. This is, hopefully, something people can feel really good about.”
Image courtesy of the Tacoma Rainiers and Populous.
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