New stadium for Bakersfield
The Reds Class A affiliate at Bakersfield is getting a new ballpark built, with an expected completion in time for the 2014 season. The Blaze currently play at one of the oldest facilities in the Minor Leagues. Sam Lynn Stadium open in the 1940s and has the unique issue of having the sun set behind center field and right in the batters’ eyes.
This new stadium is a positive for the Reds development system, assuming they keep Bakersfield as an affiliate or a few more years. The organization would have modern ballparks at every stop from Class A Dayton and higher. And the player development/Spring Training complex at Goodyear is only three years old.
UPDATE: The Reds’ affiliate agreement with Bakersfield goes through the 2014 season.
Here is a portion of the press release from the Bakersfield Blaze:
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (November 2, 2012)—In a major boost to the local sports landscape, the Bakersfield Blaze is moving forward with plans for a new, state-of-the-art ballpark at Bakersfield Commons, the planned mixed-use community located at the intersection of Coffee and Brimhall Roads, where northwest and southwest Bakersfield come together.
Bakersfield Commons also plans to advance its first phase of retail development in connection with the ballpark. Groundbreaking for the stadium is expected in the first quarter of 2013, with the park set to open in 2014. The surrounding retail center is in the planning stage and construction is anticipated to start in 2014.
The new ballpark will have approximately 3,500 fixed seats, and will include modern amenities such as luxury suites and special event space for groups and families, picnic areas, and a children’s playground. The ballpark will be built on 15 acres at the northern end of the Bakersfield Commons site, and the Blaze will relocate from Sam Lynn Ballpark, where Bakersfield baseball has lived since 1941.
Blaze Manager Ken Griffey, Sr. believes the new stadium will have a positive impact on the team. “I can’t tell you how valuable it will be to play in a facility that offers the best experience possible for our players and fans,” he said. “Filling the seats with excited Blaze fans will mean a lot to the team. This new stadium will create a lot of pride for everyone in Bakersfield.”