Stadium Visit: Paul Walsh Field (New Bedford, MA) Where Fans Are Asked to Return Foul Balls
July 1, 2019
I’m going to start by saying that I can’t be more disappointed in the management of the Brockton Rox. At about 1:00 I bought a pair of tickets for today’s Rox versus Starfires game at Campanelli Stadium scheduled for 5pm.
At 4:30 we pulled in to the parking lot at Brockton High School (next to Campanelli) and was promptly told that there was, in fact, no game today. Instead of the game (which is still listed on the Rox’s website), there was a music festival. It is unfortunate, Campanelli is supposedly a very nice park. The Rox have been around for 17 years going all the way back to the Northern/Northeast League. Surviving the collapse of that organization and spending several years in the Can-Am League. It wasn’t until recently that they dropped the professional designation and joined the summer college scene. Sadly, from what I’m hearing in the local baseball community, it’s unlikely the Rox play beyond this season. So my opportunities to see them are rapidly dwindling.
Luckily, the New Bedford Bay Sox owed the Newport Gulls a make-up on one of the season’s numerous rainouts. That game kicked off at 6:30 and lent itself to my second experience at New Bedford High School’s Paul Walsh Field.
The field itself, for the uninitiated is on the high end of middle class high school baseball fields. A few out buildings scatter a midway located on the corner of Parker & Hunter Sts in New Bedford. The focal point is a two story farmhouse red clubhouse with a concession stand lower floor and press box second floor. a 5-row bleacher set sits directly behind the black chainlink backstop and metal bleachers sitting 7 or 8 feet above the field line the first and third base sides. We chose to sit behind the backstop. The outfield lengths of the baselines may be good places to sit as well, as you can belly up to the bullpens.
Today’s game was very laid back. Rain threatened to wash out the day, and game day staff (which was limited to two concessionaires, a single ticket seller/taker, and an intern that coached the national anthem singer) didn’t think it worth while to open up the souvenir stand. I don’t blame them, as I think my partner and I may have been the only non billet family fans in the stands.
I did rather enjoy the very laid back presentation of the game. Aside from player introductions and music, we were all left to our own, which is absolutely fine with me. The setting is familiar to the Cape Cod League experience (with the addition of a modest $5 ticket price). My only problem is the misery nature of the organization. They are the only team I’ve ever seen ask that fans return foul balls.
This afternoon’s game had all the prospects of being a snoozer. The Gulls started the day a game and a half back of Danbury for the division lead, and the Bay Sox were dragging the tail at 4-12, struggling already to stay relevant. But, the Bay Sox popped off for a 9-3 win behind a 5 RBI day by University of Dayton product Alex Brickman, who popped for a 2-run dinger to dead center, and a bases clearing double that would have cleared some right field porches.