Peter Kirk says the independent Atlantic League is looking at putting a team in an upgraded LaGrave Field in Fort Worth.
Architects that work with ODP have looked at the stadium and believe the shell of LeGrave Field can be saved and used after a renovation/addition has been completed to bring the stadium more in line with other Atlantic League parks.
For one, ODP would like to add permanent concession stands instead of relying on portable stands that are in use now.
Well, there’s a little more than the “shell” of LaGrave Field that’s usable now. LaGrave Field is an interesting little ballpark. It was built out of passion, not commerce: former Cats owner Carl Bell and his GM, John Dittrich, built a new ballpark on the site of the original LaGrave Field and imbued it with a ton of personal touches, including the conversion of the original dugouts to premium seating areas (shown below), “fair” poles (a Bobby Bragan idea) and an area beyond left field for fans to tie up their horses if attending the game.
The ballpark is currently owned by John Bryant’s FW Stadium Group LLC, controlled by the owners of the independent United League Baseball; the ballpark was privately purchased out of bankruptcy proceedings for $4.5 million, so it’s a little unclear what role the city would play in terms of an upgraded ballpark. In terms of physical plant, the bones are certainly solid; the clubhouses are good, the grandstand is easily accessible, and a covered seating in right field provides needed shade on a summer night. In addition, there’s plenty of parking, good team offices and a nice team-shop space as well. There’s also plenty of real estate for improvements; one could put permanent concessions in the grandstand and add some more down each line.
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