This is a part in a series of blog posts about places where a minor league baseball park could be built in various Maritime centres. I have discussed some of these in the past but I will go into farther detail in this series of posts and each proposed location will have its own post. For this post I will discuss why the Magnetic Hill Concert Site is an ideal place for a minor league ballpark.
Recently when coming up with ideas for my ballpark proposals series, I came up with perhaps my craziest idea/concept yet. When I first tough of it, I thought it was too crazy to publish, but the more I thought about it the more genius it is.
One place where a minor league stadium could be constructed is at the Magnetic Hill Concert Site in Moncton. The ballpark could be placed at the foot of the hill where they construct the staging (and seating that are pictured above) for concerts on the hill. This is a flat space that could accommodate such a park. A ballpark here could be multipurpose and hold events other than baseball. The genius behind this idea is the hill would be behind the ballpark (let’s say home plate is at the foot of the hill with the trees behind the seats being behind the outfield). The hill can be used as general admission “seating” for events that would need a higher capacity than what the park would hold (let’s say 4000 for argument’s sake).
The first benefactor would be the concert scene at the hill. A 4000 seat ballpark would give the hill some permanent seating (and presumably private boxes) that could be sold for a premium. The ballpark would also provide other amenities that would benefit concerts there. The ballpark would have clubhouses, concession stands, permanent washrooms, a field and a parking lot that would be used by the concerts. The clubhouses would give a change area for the performers (both main act and opening acts) to use instead of temporary trailers that are currently used. Permanent concession stands would give more food options to concert goers, now the only food available at Magnetic Hill concerts are from either food trucks or tents. There are some permanent washrooms on site, but a ballpark would provide more, which would cut down on lineups to the current ones (as of now, you miss at least three songs if nature calls during a concert). The baseball field would give a large enough area for both the stage and some general admission tickets. Under this idea, a parking lot would be placed somewhere near the ballpark (let’s say behind the outfield wall). Due to the sheer number of people attending a concert compared to a minor league game not everyone at a concert could park there. In fact, under this proposal no concert goer would park there. The parking lot would provide a better place for trucks and VIP parking.
A minor league park at Magnetic Hill could also host sports in addition to concerts. Baseball would be one. Such a ballpark could be home to a Moncton minor league team. This would also be an ideal place for a neutral site Major League game. A Moncton team could even throw a crazy promotion that would yield the largest crowd in minor league history (currently 57,000 for a game between Miami and Columbus at the Orange Bowl in 1957). Sports in addition to baseball could be played here as well. One event is international soccer. During July many major European teams play preseason friendlies around North America. A stadium at Magnetic Hill could host such an event. With the demographics of the area, a Premier League team (or perhaps, Celtic or Rangers) would play a Ligue 1 team. This would play on the whole English vs. French thing. Another event would be an outdoor Moncton Wildcats game. Since it would be a pain in the rear end to clear snow from the hill in winter such a game would have to be played between the end of baseball and when the snow starts to fly. In other words an outdoor QMJHL game at Magnetic Hill would be played in October or early to mid November. After that, you’re gambling with snow. To maximize the crowds, such a game should be against either the Saint John Sea Dogs or Halifax Mooseheads.
Of course, there are a few issues with doing this. First, you would have to fence off the general admission (aka standing room) area behind home plate. This would prevent people from crowding the hill and getting free baseball during your regular run of the mill baseball game. There would be an unusable area where the back of the ballpark would be blocking the view. This would cut down on that capacity unless you build the ballpark right into the hill.
The genius of this idea is that the city of Moncton would be getting a stadium with a max capacity of 70,000 or so for the cost of a 4000 seat minor league park. The location isn’t bad and the ceiling (in terms of capacity) is high. The largest crowd at the site is 89,260 for the Rolling Stones in 2005. Since the site is used seldom (AC/DC in 2015 is the only concert in the last four summers) there would be little interference with the sites current use. In fact, it could enhance the concerts held on site.
Would this ever happen or even be considered? Probably not. It’s probably just another crazy idea or mine about bringing baseball to the region. But the Maritimes could use some out of the box developments to kick the economy (not saying this would be one, but you get my drift).