It’s a slow week for baseball news, leading NJ.com to publish an article asking “what’s next” for the former home of the Camden Riversharks, Campbell’s Field.
The short answer: not much, unless you are a fan of Rutgers-Camden baseball.
The long answer:
“At this point in time, the CCIA [Camden County Improvement Authority, the stadium’s owner] actively continues to negotiate with several different parties in regard to the 6,700-seat stadium on the Camden waterfront,” according to Camden County Freeholder Louis Cappelli.
For all the talk you’re likely to hear about wanting to put another professional team in the ballpark, there’s not a lot of reason to believe it will happen.
Just look at Newark, where Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium has not been the home of a professional team since the Newark Bears folded after the 2013 Can-Am League season, or Atlantic City, where Bernie Robbins Stadium has been without a professional team since the Atlantic City Surf ceased operations after the 2008 Can-Am League season.
Campbell’s Field is the nicest of New Jersey’s three under-utilized ballparks, twice being recognized for inclusion in Baseball America’s Great Parks calendar. And it’s probably in the best shape of the three facilities, considering it was used by a pro team through last season.
But we’ve already seen one independent league baseball team fail there, and the Philadelphia Phillies can stop any affiliated minor league team from setting up shop there if they want to.
The Phillies’ own farm teams: the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Reading Fightin Phils, Lakewood BlueClaws and Williamsport Crosscutters, already operate near the big club’s market.
The best shot at getting pro baseball to return to Camden might be to convince the owners of the Crosscutters to relocate from the 90-year-old Susquehanna Bank Park (formerly known as Bowman Field.) And I’m not privy to any information that would give me any idea if that’s a realistic possibility sometime down the road.
It’s a shame… I enjoyed watching baseball and looking out at the Ben Franklin Bridge in the background. But I’m just not making that trip for Division III college baseball.