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Scott on Sports

by Scott Lowery
First Impressions
 

Since ‘the word’ leaked prematurely out of Pittsburgh this past winter there has been a whole lot of local talk surrounding the August 20 Major League Baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals to be played at Bowman Field in conjunction with this year’s Little League Baseball World Series.
As the event will be a ‘closed’ game with no tickets placed on sale to the general public there has been some public grumbling. Coupled with the Williamsport Crosscutters change in ticketing policy where all stadium seats will now be reserved seating, taking away the fans’ choice to sit wherever they’d like as had been the past practice, seats has been a hot topic.
A lot of that changed at the Chamber of Commerce PM Exchange held earlier this month at Bowman Field. There wasn’t a seat to be had as a few hundred curiosity seekers stood on the yet-to-be-completed right field party deck that is a centerpiece of major Bowman Field renovations. To be factual, there wasn’t a seat to be seen as the onlookers gazed out onto acres of dirt that in the coming weeks will be transformed into the newest jewel in the New York-Penn League.
As he greeted visitors Crosscutters General Manager Doug Estes repeated a five-word explanation of the proceedings, “It’s a work in progress,” he often explained.
“We have full confidence that the playing field and the seating bowl will be completed in plenty of time for the season opener. The work schedule is compressed and we knew that going in. The seating will be the last piece of the puzzle and the backstop netting, which is scheduled to be completed about four days before the opener. Another noticeable change will be the relocating of the bullpens, which will now be beyond the outfield fence in right and left field. The bullpen areas will be what they call ‘lookout’. The fence will be chain-link with padding on the top and bottom and post pads. The guys in the bullpen will look out through the chain-link to see the field. That is being down by Major League Baseball specs, not ours. There is plenty of work still to be done but we are excited and looking forward to opening day.”
Equally excited were many of the visitors getting a first look and preview. A sampling of their comments:
Jack Rupert, Montoursville – “I grew up here. My neighbor was the PA announcer and I’ve been coming to games since I was eight years old. This is incredible. It is going to look like a Major League Baseball field. It is going to be something great for the fans. The new right field deck is quite an improvement as well. This is dramatic.”
Architect Tony Visco – “Personally, I’m so excited about how much we’ve been able to accomplish in a matter of one year. It is just astounding. With the influence by Major League Baseball we actually got an additional $1,250,000 which we wouldn’t have had. It has allowed us to do the lower seating bowl. The dugouts are MLB standard which are going to be way bigger than what we need. The field is being improved and we’re hoping by next year we might be able to get some other legacy improvements from MLB that would really make the entire stadium all new in a sense.”
Muncy’s Sandy Spencer – “I think it is exciting and a really good opportunity for the area and for the Crosscutters. I don’t come to as many games as I should, but when I do I really enjoy it. We are blessed to have this team in our area. Fans that haven’t been here recently will be very impressed. I think the vision that has been put forth and the people doing the work are very impressive.”
Stadium concessionaire Bill Gehron – “It is always great to have new things and with the changes being made we will be making changes to the concession operation. With the new Loggers Landing we will have a different menu. We are excited about the opportunity to have a different look. One of the things we are working on is to have local restaurants become a sponsor for a night and we will feature their food in the concession area. We expect to add a couple more bartenders and about a half dozen staff.”
Businessman Mike Philbin – “Bowman Field has been a summer staple for our community for a long time. But with what they are doing here to improve all aspects of the ballpark this is going to be a whole new experience for the fans. I can’t imagine what a fan that hasn’t been here for a while will think when they walk into the park for the first time this summer.”
As the gathered guests gazed out upon the still brown barren field a professional team of Arizona-based baseball stadium workers were beginning preparations of the outfield warning track which will be comprised of rich red dirt. Before the end of the month a new lush blanket of green turf will transform the ‘brownness’ into a Norman Rockwell-like Americana baseball portrait.
It is going to be nice and different at the same time. Once completed, stadium management will have a whole new set of issues to deal with. The gift being bestowed in part by MLB will have to be maintained and the crew of workers on hand for the past several months will have moved on to another locale. But Miss BB&T Ballpark at Bowman Field will be dressed up for the summer party.

 
 
 
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