The construction site of the Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium. FILE
The Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA), the governing body for baseball in The Bahamas, was well represented during the tour of the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium on Wednesday. Everything is looking good so far, said BBA President Sam Rodgers who was present along with some of his executives.
“Everything seems to be in place. I just would hope that during the course of moving forward that they will continue to look into having two or three more ballparks onto this park because if we decide to hold international tournaments, this one park would not be enough. If Major League Baseball (MLB) or the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) comes here to play international games, you should have other fields for them to practice on individually,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers hopes that the other parks at the site comes to fruition.
“We have a lot of engagement where people from South America and the Caribbean want to come here and play baseball. For us to do that, we are going to need additional parks to host any size tournament,” Rodgers stated.
The Bahamas boasts of 20-plus Minor League Baseball players. Rodgers said that these players can practice using stadium facilities.
“Once we get with the NSA (National Sports Authority) to sit down and hash out the differences and see what the pros and cons are, we would welcome the players using the facility. They are Bahamians so why not,” Rodgers said.
Project Manager and Architect Mike Foster said that the stadium is more than just about baseball.
“We have close to 17,000 square feet of office space that we understand should be under the control of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. That ministry controls the whole facility but that’s their specific office areas. We have baseball facilities with lockers, management rooms for any event. It has a setup where you can have major concerts in an amphitheater type of style. We can do a number of things here… We also have eight batting cages. With baseball going the way that it is now, those batting cages are going to be the largest revenue generator if we anticipate with what we see happening with the BBA.”
The stadium seats about 4,500 for baseball and 8-9,000 persons for events. There are also corporate boxes. It is built to MLB and WBSC standards. Foster said there has been international interest for the use of the stadium and he expects the facility to be busy once it is opened.
With hurricanes touching The Bahamas more frequently over the past few years, Foster stated that the stadium is up to standard to withstand a major hurricane, and said it can be used as a shelter.
“This is hurricane ready,” Foster said. “One of the things about the design is that once winds get in here, they will go straight through. It does not allow vortexes to happen to try and lift the roof. Even if that is not the case, that roof is capable of withstanding about 180 miles per hour winds or more.”
There will be a statue of Bahamian baseball legend Andre Rodgers at the entrance to the stadium along with a mural.
The stadium is between 70 to 80 percent completed and is set to be finished by December 2020 or early 2021. Foster said the stadium was designed by Bahamians.