Do the Hagerstown Suns play in the smallest stadium in the South Atlantic League?

Proponents of building a new $30 million minor league baseball stadium in the heart of downtown Hagerstown often state that Municipal Stadium, the current home of the Hagerstown Suns, is the smallest stadium in the South Atlantic League.

That’s not actually true.

  • Greensboro Grasshoppers (Greensboro, North Carolina) – 7,499
  • Lexington Legends (Lexington, Kentucky) – 6,994
  • Lakewood BlueClaws Lakewood, New Jersey –  6,588
  • West Virginia Power (Charleston, West Virginia) –  6,200
  • Charleston RiverDogs (Charleston, South Carolina)  – 6,000
  • Greenville Drive (Greenville, South Carolina) –  6,000
  • Delmarva Shorebirds (Salisbury, Maryland) – 5,200
  • Rome Braves (Rome, Georgia) – 5,105
  • Hickory Crawdads (Hickory, North Carolina) –  5,092
  • Savannah Sand Gnats (Savannah, Georgia) – 5,000
  • Kannapolis Intimidators (Kannapolis, North Carolina)  –  4,700
  • Hagerstown Suns (Hagerstown, Maryland)  –  4,600
  • Augusta GreenJackets (Augusta, Georgia) –  4,400
  • Southern Asheville Tourists (Asheville, North Carolina) – 4,000

I found the above information on Wikipedia, which is on the World Wide Web, so you know it must be true.

There are two other teams in the South Atlantic League that play in smaller ballparks. I’m not sure why this is even a factor. The Suns don’t sell out games unless there’s a major leaguer in town for a rehab stint. Maybe if the Suns were turning fans away, I could understand the need for a bigger ballpark.

Personally, I like a smaller ballpark. I’ve never been to a baseball game and found myself wishing that the venue I was at had more seating.

Though I believe there may be some valid reasons for building a new ballpark, I don’t think the seating capacity is one of those reasons.

18 thoughts on “Do the Hagerstown Suns play in the smallest stadium in the South Atlantic League?”

  1. The capacity of Municipal Stadium has never been the issue (maybe yet another silly Hagerstown rumor or else you just thought it up to have something to write about), although most of that 4600 number is bleacher seating, which is less than ideal by today’s operating standards.
    The minimum capacity for a SAL stadium is 4000 and the new proposed ballpark in Hagerstown wouldn’t be much larger than that.
    Also, you seem to have succumbed to the logic that the current ballpark doesn’t draw many fans so why bother. Municipal Stadium doesn’t have the cache’ that new ballparks create to bring people from far and wide, not just for the baseball but for the modern amenities, atmosphere, and socializing that happens in nice, new facilities. Our crappy facility, despite the attraction of minor league baseball, has filtered out everyone except diehard baseball fans, a few families, and the Thirsty Thursday crowd.
    The situation is very similar to having a bad restaurant that no one goes to- it doesn’t mean that people don’t eat anymore, it just means that the product isn’t attractive enough to bring people out even though the market is there.
    It’s amazing how many people who have little interest in baseball (like you maybe) pine to go to a newer, cool ballpark. It happens everywhere and will also happen here- Hagerstown has a large potential market extending into PA, WV and west past Cumberland- WITH a venue that people want to go to, with the bonus of bringing out-of-state dollars to MD. Do a little research and check out the jump in attendance whenever a new ballpark is built for a community- it works!

  2. @Tony Dahbura: Wow, you would think that one of the owners of the Hagerstown Suns would have been able to get his point across without being snotty and arrogant. What a way to win over support of a Hagerstown citizen, but it sounds like maybe he doesn’t care about the support of someone from a town he won’t be in too much longer.

    1. I suppose that anything I would write that you don’t want to hear but that is based in fact would be labeled snotty and arrogant. Seriously, the size of the stadium has never been raised as an issue in any discussions with the City, County, State, owners, consultants, community leaders, etc.

      Aside from that, are you willing to refute any of the information I’ve put forth?

      1. Wow – Tony Dahbura of Hagerstown – snobby arrogant and rude – sounds like the same Tony Dahbura 2015.

        1. Want to hear something really funny? Tony Dahbura is on the advisory board of Choose Civility of Washington County, an organization that promotes “respect, consideration, empathy, and tolerance ” in public schools.

          There might be two people named Tony Dahbura in Hagerstown, one that advocates respect and tolerance, another who comes to my blog and acts like an arrogant dick.

      2. That is disturbing news to hear Tony Dahbura of Hagerstown Suns is on the board of an organization representing “respect, consideration, empathy, and tolerance ?” Seriously? shows the opposite of those traits including his childish, rude and obnoxious remarks in your blog, which I sense is coming from some major insecurities he carries inside. A friend who knows him from work actually came across his name on this blog, and found Tony’s shallow arguments, and contradictions in his statements to be a turn-off. As predicted, all of Tony’s nagging and complaining is consistent with how disrespectful, inconsiderate, lack of empathy, and intolerant Tony Dahbura behaves in person, at the Sun’s games, and apparently on the internet. <"I wonder why he is no longer employed at Hub Labels, Inc., his family owned business in Hagerstown…??? Go figure.”>

        1. Is the stadium getting any work done or is it crumbling? I don’t see any of the work getting done. And to answer your question, I know why he was let go but would rather not say here. By the way, sports park would be a great replacement. No one is watching the Suns play anyways. Last time I went, the stadium was empty. Really sad. Strike out.

  3. @Tony Dahbura: Here is what you, Tony Dahbura, said from a Herald Mail published story on Dec 13, 2011… Municipal Stadium is more than 80 years old and doesn’t meet current standards or capacity needs, Dahbura said. I would guess when you said capacity that would mean more seating for fans.

    1. Correct. More about Municipal Stadium (from a presentation last year):

      —The player development aspects were so poor that in March 2010 the Nationals were planning to request another city;
      —Minor League Baseball (Gould-Evans) report points out numerous aspects of the stadium that are below minimum operating levels;
      —Bleachers and reserved seating comfort;
      —Concessions and concourses are inadequate;
      —Insufficient office space and storage space;
      —Left field “hill”;
      —Lack of amenities for fans which produce revenue such as enclosed pavilion;
      —Tiny clubhouses for home and visiting teams;
      —Lack of parking;
      —Lack of ADA compliance.

      Note: The infrastructure begins to fail during games with more than about 1800 in attendance

  4. @Tony Dahbura: So, then Rick was correct when he said that capacity was a factor in building a new baseball park (however, not a valid one as he points out). Why would you then comment that “maybe yet another silly Hagerstown rumor or else you just thought it up to have something to write about”? Do you not remember saying that the current stadium doesnt meet capacity standards or did the Herald Mail make that up as well? I appreciate the facts you stated on your last comment however that has nothing to do with the blog post that you commented on about Municipal Stadium being a small ballpark. Before you insult someone who actually is on your side regarding building a new ballpark, maybe you should google yourself so you will know what you have actually said regarding a new ballpark.

  5. @Tony Dahbura: I just thought it up to have something to write about? How incredibly rude. As Sheri already pointed out, you yourself claimed that capacity was one of the reasons the Suns need a new stadium.

    Furthermore, when the mayor showed the overhead image of downtown with the new ballpark photoshopped in, it was a composite of two newer ballparks: MCU Park in Brooklyn and Newbridge Bank Park in Greensboro, SC. Both parks have a capacity of 7,500.

    Next time you want to accuse me of making something up, don’t.

  6. I apologize for being rude.

    To be concise and to try to undo some of the oversimplification that appeared in the newspaper, the issue with capacity is not how many bodies can fit inside the gates, but is how many individual seats there are vs. bleacher seating and standing-room.

    1. The left hand is not talking to the right hand. Which hand are you?

      @ Anthony Dahbura: Good on the apology, after two takes. For a long minute you had me fuming for giving Rick and his wife a hard time, even after coming to her husband’s defense. You must be frustrated at the lack of support from all sides. Small or not, legroom, swivel chair, steak and lobster or not, you should be grateful you got a baseball team in Hagerstown and the city willing to offer $10 million. Should have accepted it.

      Even Lynda Givens Evans and Jonathan Burrs would be ok with it. But turning it down has been a dragged out knuckle fights between you and the Hagerstown tea party of all citizens. That was 2012.. Moving onto 2015. And still the ongoing dilemma and debates about the Suns stadium. I’m hearing the majority owner Mr. Quinn is looking into moving the team to Spotsylvania, Virginia. Hope he realizes the grass is not always greener. Refusing the $10 million the city willing to put on the line for the upgrade and renovation is a slap in the face to the fine folks and taxpayers of the city. I’ve been going to the stadium on an off since 2006 and I have not heard much complaints about not having a new, cool stadium. These fine hardworking folks like me like the stadium it as it is. Just wish for a little face lift. Nothing major is necessary. Not a new stadium. Attendance has be dropping steadily over the course of years…blame it on economy and the lace of business surrounding the ballpark.

      Who rejected the money?

      Municipal Stadium takes center stage in a sagging and waning certainly won’t help attract tourists and locals and the real estate. But the money could have been the spark to get the fire going. Go grassroot. Have the Suns management consider walking door to door to do a survey? “Would you like the Suns to have new stadium?” Yes, No, Don’t care. Check one box only. You may be surprised at the results. It wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.

      Instead, all the talk of the right hand whining for a new ball park. Talks of Spotsylvania? The Nationals might not be too keen on playing next door to the Richmond Flying Squirrels, a Double A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Apples and oranges. I want to hear from the left hand, the minority 1% owner. What do you want for the Suns? Upgrade or new stadium?

    1. Upgrading is definitely needed but 30 to perhaps 50 Million dollars worth for a single A baseball league? COME ON! HA!

      We can upgrade in place for $15 Million get the same facility AND keep a valuable historic gathering place that Hagerstown has had since 1930! It is the 3rd oldest ball field in the world. Now that’s something right?!?

      Citizen’s have gathered 2103 signatures total to date dropping off over a thousand just this last Tuesday!

      Those individuals interested in preserving the historic site and keeping minor league baseball where it’s been for the past 82 years can go to the online petition at Change.org. Just search for ‘Municipal Stadium’ to pull it up, sign and add comments.

      Folk and Rap Song about it…YES, there is 2 songs about it! 🙂

      http://www.reverbnation.com/letthemgo

      Those of you that would like to GET INVOLVED in the PETITION DRIVE or have friends that don’t have internet access, we will walk, bike, drive or mail a petition to them…just call (240) 347-1555.

      See you at the games!

  7. Cristina Ortiz

    My family has been attending the games since 2012 after moving to Franklin County from New Jersey. We enjoy coming to the games, also looking at Osvaldo Abreu to be the next Derek Jeter. Anyways, my husband and I are glad that the Suns are here to stay at the Municipal Stadium for another season and hope that would be the case for the long haul. According to Wikipedia, the relocation to Fredericksburg plan fell through now that the make-over project would cost around $53 million?

    How much has been raised? Searching online for the info brought me here. By the way, great blog, Mr.Rottman). Reading the comments, especially the exchanges between your wife and the owner of the Hagerstown Suns, of all people, gave me the chuckles. I did not know that the team had a minority owner? Tony Dahbura, if you’re reading this, perhaps you can fill me in on the latest developments. My son loves the Suns and wants to play for the Nationals. He’s 11 and wishes to become either a professional baseball player or “the first Dominican-American to become POTUS.” (His words)

    Having said that, if you need to bring awareness we know there’s a huge market for the Latino community to come out and support. We like that the team is downtown and conveniently located within the tri-state for all people. Like Jersey or the Bronx where my husband’s from, having moved here in 2012, we love baseball stay connected within our community. We subscribe to a local Spanish news magazine covering the events, educations, and all the latest from Hagerstown, etc. http://www.conexionesusa.net/. Build it and they will come. 

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