We end 2017 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Ballpark Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #7: The makeover of BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field for the Williamsport Crosscutters and the Little League Classic.
One of the most memorable aspects of the 2017 Minor League Baseball season was the new energy that was brought to a classic ballpark. With the Williamsport Crosscutters (Short Season A; NY-Penn League) rolling out a broad slate of improvements, BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field saw not only a revamped game day experience in 2017, but even earned a moment in the major league spotlight.
Prior to the 2017 season, there were two central developments concerning baseball in Williamsport and the state of BB&T Ballpark. A wide variety of fan experience upgrades were completed at the ballpark, including Logger’s Landing—a premium deck down the first base line—and new seats in the grandstand.
Another major development, and one that ultimately included ballpark improvements, was the announcement of the first ever MLB Little League Classic. The regular season game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals was played at BB&T Ballpark on August 20, in conjunction with the Little League World Series.
Leading up to the game, MLB completed a variety of improvements to BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. That included paying for the replacement of the playing surface and irrigation system as well as the relocation of the bullpens from foul territory to areas beyond the outfield wall.
The first-ever Little League Classic proved to be a success, and it did not take long for MLB to announce that the game will return to BB&T Ballpark in 2018. The 2018 edition of the game is scheduled for August 19, and will feature the Philadelphia Phillies—parent club of the Crosscutters—and the New York Mets.
While the Little League Classic was a special moment for Williamsport, the improvements completed at BB&T Ballpark should be beneficial to the Crosscutters going forward. For 2017, they were a key reason why the team’s parent company—Trinity Sports Holdings—won the 2017 Organization of the Year Award from Ballpark Digest.
“It’s a whole new place,” Trinity Sports Holding Principal Owner Peter Freund said of the BB&T Ballpark upgrades when the award was announced. “It is truly charming as not only a stadium, but a baseball town as you can imagine. What’s so special about it is that it still holds its historic charm, but it’s now a completely different place. It’s a balance, but I think we did it successfully.”
Image courtesy Williamsport Crosscutters.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2017 List: