With a fire damaging team offices and the grandstand already under scrutiny for unsafe conditions, the future of Alexandria’s historic Bringhurst Field is in serious doubt.
Bringhurst Field opened in 1933 and has for years been the center of baseball in the Louisiana city. Players like Randy Jones and Hal Newhouser made an impact there when it hosted Minor League Baseball, and most recently the ballpark has been home to summer-collegiate and independent-league ball. Part of the grandstand was shut down two years ago because of safety issues, and city officials keep searching for a way to save the facility.
That work was made much more complicated over the weekend, when the team and ticket offices were heavily damaged due to fire. The cause of the blaze has not been determined — the most likely culprit is a homeless person taking refuge — but the fact that there are already numerous issues with the ballpark From The Town Talk:
Saving the stadium is a noble idea, but there are numerous hurdles to clear. For starters, the ballpark is landlocked. The playing field was always too small for collegiate or professional baseball, and there was no room to move the fences back.
The wooden grandstands and the plumbing for the restrooms needed to be replaced more than a decade ago, and the concourse is simply claustrophobic.
Of course, if the condition of the park was pristine, none of these things would be problematic. But they are a problem, and a costly problem to fix.
There has been a group working to renovate Bringhurst Field; it will be interesting to see if the fire helps or hurts their efforts.