By The Bakersfield Californian
If you build it, they will come! Or is it "will they come"? The proposed Bakersfield Blaze stadium sounds awesome on the surface. According to Richard Chapman of the Kern Economic Development Corp., the ballpark and the encompassing Bakersfield Commons project will put $1.5 billion into the local economy. Wow. My only question: What took so long? And while we're at it, might as well throw in the Santa Monica Pier and Rodeo Drive! Apparently, "Field of Dreams" was not a fictional movie -- all you need to do is build a 3,500-seat Single-A baseball stadium among a little urban sprawl. In a town whose team draws 500 fans a night, a California League low.
My question is once the novelty of a new stadium wears off, will the Blaze surpass that attendance figure? It seems like building a stadium on some of Bakersfield's most valuable real estate is a Catch-22. The more the property is worth, the better the team has to perform. Sounds simple, but there comes a point when the land becomes more valuable than the team -- then what?
Why build a marginal Single-A facility on Triple-A real estate? I guess the simple answer is because you can when the facility is privately funded! I do wish the new owners all the best.
If you truly want a "crown jewel" team and facility, you need a Triple-A team that fans can relate to geographically. Now who could make that happen? Maybe we need a little "Magic" to pull that off!