One of the crazy things about Minor League and Independent League baseball is that there is always change. Team’s rename, rebrand, relocate and realign. Due to team’s moving, there is a rumor that Campbell’s Field in Camden, NJ may become home to a New York – Penn League team.
For the 2016 season, the New Britain Rock Cats, the AA team of the Colorado Rockies, are relocating to nearby Hartford, CT to Dunkin Donuts Park. They will become the Hartford Yard Goats.
Mayor Erin Stewart does not want New Britain Stadium to sit empty. Some rumors are that the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League would move to New Britain. (It should be worth noting it would be more sensible to move the Sugar Land Skeeters from Texas to New Britain).
If that were to happen, Campbell’s Field would be left empty. A recent article from BaseballAmerica.com writes how the New York – Penn League would consider bringing a team to Camden.
Campbell’s Field is located near the Camden Waterfront and adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Many ballpark review sites, such as BallparkReviews.com give it a very high ranking. It seats about 6,400 fans and has an amazing view of the Philadelphia skyline.
THE 3 CANDIDATES FOR RELOCATION.
1: Batavia Muckdogs (Miami Marlins)
The Muckdogs cannot draw at all. This season, they averaged 921 fans per game. They have not averaged over 1,000 since 2011. They were rumored to be relocating to West Virginia, but Jamestown ended up moving. They play in Dwyer Stadium, which saw a renovation for Opening Day in 1996. However, it is not a big draw for fans.
Batavia has has New York Penn League Baseball since the league inaugural season in 1939. The Mets had a farm team in Batavia (the Batavia Trojans) from 1972 to 1974.
2: Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals)
Like Dwyer Stadium, it revamped for 1996. However, Auburn has been in the lower echelons of the New York – Penn League attendance for years. The Doubledays do manage to get over 1,000 a game.
The Mets had a farm team in Auburn (the Auburn Mets) from 1962 to 1966.
3: Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies)
Williamsport has been home to the Crosscutters since the 1990s & home to Minor League Baseball since the 1920s. Historic Bowman Field opened in 1926, but has had work done in the early 2000s.
They manage to draw over 1,500 a game, which would make relocating this team a bad move when compared to Auburn & Batavia.
The Mets had their AA team in Williamsport (Williamsport Mets) from 1964-1967.
THE ROAD BLOCK
One issue that would arise is that the team would be invading the Philadelphia Phillies market. The Phillies would probably not have an issue with the Cutters moving in, but Williamsport should not be the one to move.
The Phillies might allow the Nationals or Marlins to have their farm team in Camden for 1 year, as affiliations may only change after seasons that end in even numbers (2016). The move could also wait until after the 2016 season.
HOW IT WOULD AFFECT THE CYCLONES & THEIR FANS.
The New York – Penn League would have to realign the divisions. Because Camden is closer to Brooklyn, Staten Island & Hudson Valley than Aberdeen, they would need to move the Ironbirds from the McNamara to the Pinckney Division. This would also allow the Cyclones to play the home & home series and not use hotels.
This would also be of benefit to fans of the Brooklyn Cyclones, as it would be possibly to attend all Divisional Games, being as they are all less than 100 miles from MCU Park (SI 13; CAM 91, HV 97).
It also has mass transit that runs late. A fan could take Bolt or MEGA Bus to Philly, hop on the Patco Speedline and walk to the Campbell’s Field. After the game, you can hop the Speedline back to Philly and use SEPTA & NJ Transit to get home.
With the Yankees being right near the Ferry & Railway and the Renegades accessible by a train and cab/bus a fan could attend all 38 Cyclones homes games, and about 19 road games split between Staten Island, Camden & Hudson Valley.