As Alexandria (La.) begins to debate the future of Bringhurst Field, there's one important fact to remember: not every old ballpark can be saved.
Over the 10 years this site has existed, we've reported lots of sad stories about old ballparks that had deteriorated to the point where they couldn't be saved. Flash back to Cobb Field, the former home of the Billings Mustangs (rookie; Pioneer League), a classic old ballpark build to herald the launch of pro ball in that city. It was a well-loved facility, and the Mustangs always drew well.
But inspections showed some serious problems with Cobb Field, and a decision needed to be made over the ballpark's future. In reality, there was only one decision to be made: tear down the beloved ballpark in favor of a new and safer facility. As one architect told us at the time, there simply wasn't enough of Cobb Field to save when you started to inspect the structure of the place.
And Alexandria officials may reach the same decision with Bringhurst Field, certainly a beloved faciity as the home of the Alexandria Aces (summer collegiate; Texas Collegiate League). But the problems with Bringhurst are eerily similar to the problems with Cobb Field: it's the ballpark infrastructure that's basically rotted away. And while issues with things like wooden seating can be addressed, you basically need to take apart the entire ballpark to address infrastructure problems.
That's why Bob Tompkins suggests the old grandstand needs to come down. There simply may not be enough of Bringhurst Field to save. And it may be a whole lot cheaper to build a new grandstand -- a new metal structure like the ones put up in Willmar or Thomasville cost well under $3 million -- than to take apart the existing Bringhurst Field grandstand and rebuilt from the ground up.
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