Former MiLB team owner Art Solomon is looking to add another new ballpark to his resume, pitching an MLB Draft League facility for Providence’s Rhode Island College.
Solomon’s resume includes the launches of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double-A; Eastern League) and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (High-A; Sally League) and the resulting new ballparks, with his son Josh Solomon heading the Hartford Yard Goats (Double-A; Eastern League).
His pitch, as shared with Rhode Island political leaders, would see the state finance an expansion of Pontarelli Field (shown above) at Rhode Island College via higher education bonds to a 3,500 capacity, to the tune of $18 million. Pontarelli Field currently seats a couple of hundred fans. From GoLocalProv:
“I would like them to include this as a part of the higher education bonds — it is a cost of about $18 million and the facility would be owned by the college,” said Solomon.
Solomon said the annual cost each year for the 20 years of the bonds would be about $1.6 million.
“RIC would benefit, as we would rent the dorms and pay for the food services and the college would generate hundreds of thousands in new revenue annually,” said Solomon.
“The state would benefit from visiting teams using hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and so on,” he added.
Art Solomon would own the resulting team.
MLB Draft League is one of two summer-collegiate circuits with MLB ties, along with the Appalachian League. But while the Appy League is a pure summer-collegiate league, the MLB Draft League is a hybrid league: the first half of the season is played with collegiate players, but the second half of the season–after college players return to campus–is played with players who have exhausted their college eligibility but have not yet turned pro.