Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts may have done the Boise Hawks (short season A; Northwest League) a huge favor by coming to the Treasure Valley and ripping Memorial Stadium as being a substandard facility.
Ricketts was in town to review the Hawks operations and speak to the Boise Chamber of Commerce. He was pretty pointed in his comments:
“The facility here is below standard,” Ricketts said. “All the (minor-league) facilities we have are substantially better.”
Among the complaints: the lack of an indoor batting case, the lack of a weight room, and cramped clubhouses. Memorial Stadium was built for $2.3 million in 1989, and while the Hawks ownership (which also owns the ballpark) have done decent things with the facility, it’s pretty clear they’ve decided not to throw good money after bad and are working instead for a new downtown ballpark, assisted by the Better Boise Coalition. Several studies have shown support for a new downtown ballpark in the vicinity of Qwest Arena; the issue is finding some sort of funding plan for a $25-million facility. Ricketts doesn’t actually have much say in what happens in Boise (and, indeed, was ripped in the local newspaper for arguing for a new ballpark while failing to help pay for it) and there’s little chance the Hawks would move, but there’s the chance the city could lose its Cubs affiliation. Whether or not that’s a factor in the discussions remains to be seen.
Rendering courtesy of Better Boise Coalition.
RELATED STORIES: Boise as Triple-A market? There’s talk; Boise ballpark search to focus on downtown sites; Boise in search of new ballpark site; Memorial Stadium / Boise Hawks
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