This weekend I renewed my challenge to those who oppose the baseball park component of the Community Maritime Park. Pick five minor league baseball parks that have been built in downtown areas since 1999. I will also pick five. We will do an investigation into the ten parks and see if they have worked to help revitalize their local economies.
No one has emailed me a list yet. We had one blogger who says he likes the CMP, except for the ballpark – who admitted that he had no idea whether any baseball parks have been built since 1999. I gave him a list of 35 parks, but still he declined the challenge.
What we have is a group of people opposing a project who have done no real research on the matter – and, worse yet, they don’t want to do any research and learn the facts.
I began studying downtown baseball parks in the spring of 2004. I made it part of our very first Ballsy Plan for Pensacola (This Is It? ). I had Duwayne Escobedo interview people around the country on their ballparks (Field of Dreams ). He interviewed Mayor Joe Riley of Charleston, SC twice. I personally interviewed Mayor Bobby Bright of Montgomery, Alabama on their baseball park.
I’m not naive enough to think all 35-plus baseball parks built in the last 10 years have been successful, but I’m willing to look at a large sampling of them. At the very least, we can learn the weaker projects how to make the CMP stronger.