With the end of games yesterday, we have a wrap on the 2021 MLB and MiLB regular seasons. Now begins the serious work of preparing for the 2022 season, as teams and facilities managers take some hopeful steps toward normalcy and upgraded facilities.
Now, the season isn’t by any means over–the Atlantic League regular season runs through Oct. 10, the MLB playoffs begin today with the AL wild-card game, and the Arizona Fall League begins Oct. 13. But with the MLB and Triple-A MiLB seasons ending, most of the baseball world can breathe a sigh of relief at crossing that finish line. We’ll be seeing MLB teams begin their own renovation projects, continue planning for 2022 spring training, and prep for big offseason event. We have some cool books in the pipeline, we have a framework for Ballpark Digest updates, and we’ll have a more in-depth season review once the Atlantic League season wraps.
And, of course, it’s awards season! The deadline: Oct. 5.
We just returned from a few weeks on the road, touring a slew of renovated facilities across the country. So we’ll have plenty of stories on what’s happening on the facilities front. For many MiLB teams, it’s been inspection season, with MLB reps hitting the road to see what ballparks require upgrades and what changes are on tap. Teams have a few years to meet the new standards that include upgraded clubhouses and workout facilities, additional batting cages, a new women’s changing room, and other smaller changes. Many teams are using the new facilities changes as an impetus to make other changes that affects the whole ballpark as well. This will be an offseason of change, including a possible rebranding of Minor League Baseball and what’s sure to be an interesting Winter meetings.
In Davenport, the Quad Cities River Bandits (High-A Central) are expanding clubhouses and training spaces as well as upgrading the ballpark HVAC system as part of grandstand changes. Open space on the suite level will be upgraded with a removal of a drop ceiling and a move of HVAC to the ballpark roof, creating a more open space for the many events held there both during the season and the offseason. From the Quad Cities Times:
As part of a project with an overall price tag of more than $5.1 million, Davenport city leaders signed off in August on more than $2 million in work to build a floodwall designed to protect areas of Modern Woodmen Park that were left unprotected during a 2004 renovation of the facility.
That area, generally located on northeast portion of the property, will house batting cages that previously were subjected to rising Mississippi River floodwaters as well as a new structure that will house areas that put the River Bandits in compliance with the new stadium standards.
“The City of Davenport made a commitment to the River Bandits, the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball to meet the facility standards and the city of Davenport is honoring its commitment,’’ [River Bandits owner] Heller said.
We can expect many more stories in the next month about ballpark upgrades.