After the loss of independent baseball and a failed effort at summer-collegiate ball, Shreveport's Fair Grounds Field sits empty this summer, its future far from assured.
When it opened in 1986, Fair Grounds Field was seen as a shining star in the Minor League Baseball pantheon, outfitted with the kinds of amenities you usually found only in Major League Baseball facilities.
Since then, the state of the art in baseball has moved way past the relatively modest offerings of Fair Grounds Field. The Shreveport Swamp Dragons (Class AA; Texas League) were moved by Mandalay Baseball Properties to Frisco -- with the RoughRiders becoming one of the most successful teams in baseball -- and independent ball withdrawing as well. Southern Independent Baseball, which owned the Shreveport-Bossier Captains (independent; American Association), tried to put together a startup summer-collegiate circuit, the Hall of Fame League, which failed to launch this summer.
So Fair Grounds Field sits empty. The structure problems with the ballpark -- detailed here, complete with tales of bat infestations -- aren't being addressed (ironically, the bats that hazed broadcaster Tim Calderwood are an endangered species, so extricating them from the ballpark is a complex procedure), and things are getting worse, as the city isn't maintaining the facility, and Southern Independent Baseball, which holds the lease on the ballpark, isn't doing anything, either. SIB's Scott Barry says he wants to bring summer-collegiate ball to Fair Grounds Field next season.
RELATED STORIES: Reevaluating Fair Grounds Field after 25 years; Hall of Fame League scrapped for 2012?; New summer-collegiate league launches in Texas, Louisiana; Shreveport-Bossier Captains moving to Laredo; Another potential American Association defection: Shreveport-Bossier exploring options
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