— Matt Nelson
In Beloit they want (and need) a new ballpark to replace Pohlman Field. They’ve done some research to see what area residents think, and here you’ll find some of the results:
Well, one thing you can say about Beloit’s Pohlman Field when comparing it to the others in the Midwest League, “It’s different.”
The facility is located in a park on the north side of Beloit and is really the only “neighborhood ballpark” in the league. Right across the street from the main entrance are residential areas. In fact some streets have signs that read “No Parking During Ball Games.” It almost reminds a fan of street parking near Wrigley Field. Almost.
Pohlman Field needs to be replaced. The team will openly tell you that and they are hoping to get a new stadium built at an interstate location on the city’s eastside. That project is currently awaiting the results of feasibility studies.
Many fans could argue that Pohlman Field isn’t much more than a high school field. The seating area is small, the exterior doesn’t really stand out, and it lacks many amenities that fans and players have to come to expect these days.
However Pohlman Field does serve as a good example of what many minor league ballparks were like prior to the 1990’s building boom. Simple and small. And simple and small leads to one of the best opportunities for fans in all of the Midwest League.
At Pohlman Field the players must walk through the concourse with the fans in order to get from the clubhouse to the dugout. Nope. No ramps from the dugout to a locker room underneath the stands in Beloit. This provides unparalleled access to the players and coaches. It’s an autograph collector’s dream.
It’s a tough situation for the Beloit Snappers to keep things going. The crowds are often small, and the team lacks revenue sources such as suite money and parking profits. However, General Manager Jeff Vohs says the club has been “in the black” for the last seven years. It’s a no frills operation in the small front office, but they get the job done and put on a good show for the Snapper fans.
While Beloit’s Pohlman Field doesn’t usually rank on “Must See Minor League Ballpark” lists, it is a unique facility these days, and the access that fans have to the players is something rarely found.
Be sure to check out the video reports on Pohlman Field as well as the Midwest League Offices, which are located in Beloit!
— Matt Nelson
On the road to Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago I stopped in Beloit to interview Midwest League President George Spelius. He’s the guy with his signature on every Midwest League baseball after all.
The interview with Spelius will be part of the coverage of the Beloit Snappers in July, but here are some photos of the Midwest League Office. It’s in an unmarked building shared with an insurance company just down the street from the ballpark the Beloit Snappers play in.
— Matt Nelson
The lesson of the story is, you never know what you’ll see when you buy a ticket at the ballpark.
Having a Monday off from work, noticing that the Kernels had a Nooner, and noticing that they were playing Beloit (MWL affiliate of my beloved Minnesota Twins), I decided to premiere my new “Ballparks of the Midwest” t-shirt at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids.
The highlight of the day was this bizarre happening in the Bottom of the 7th inning with Alexi Amarista at bat for Cedar Rapids. I can’t do it justice, check out Gazette sportswriter Jeff Johnson’s account here. My scorecard read “?” after that play. Now I’ll know for the next time.
The strikeout, withoutthe actual strikeout, is definetely the most memorable experience of this trip to the ballpark. Gotta love umpires.
Programming Note:The last segment of “Ballparks of the Midwest” airs this Wednesday, August 12 at 6:00 on KCRG-TV9. Check out my visit to Comstock Park, Michigan and the West Michigan Whitecaps. The 5,000 calorie Fifth Third Burger will not disappoint, I promise!