BY NEDEN BERNADIN & REBECCA OLIVEIRA
The Malden Field of Dreams is an ongoing project to revitalize the empty field by the MBTA station that is currently owned by National Grid.
The project was originally proposed to establish an Independent League team, but it was decided to establish an affiliated team with the Minor Leagues instead for various reasons. One of the reasons was that a lot of players in an independent league tend to leave and join the major leagues, whereas with a minor league team players have contracts with the independent leagues to supply them with managers, coaches, prospects, and other benefits for the minor leagues.
As of recently, both Eastern Bank and East Boston Savings Bank are strongly interested in providing funding for the new ballpark in Malden. Mayor Christenson explained that approximately eighty million dollars is being put into the project to bring it to life. The park will be located between Charles Street, Commercial Street, Route 60 and Canal Street. He also added that Malden was the ideal location for this major advancement due to the “accessibility to public transportation, diversity, and the right amount acreage needed to accommodate the project.”
Founder and CEO of the Boston Baseball Field of Dreams, Alexander Bok was given a sixty-day deadline to prepare an official proposal on the Malden Field of Dreams project for this March by the city council, otherwise the project would have to be discontinued. Bok has chosen Turner Sports Construction as the contractors for the stadium. For the past ten years, their firm has been the source for the construction of several fields for both minor and major leagues across the country, such as the new Yankee Stadium, Nationals Park in Washington D.C., and Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio. Mayor Christenson hopes that once certain issues have been resolved, construction can begin this summer, so that the field can be done by 2019.
Before any plans could be put into action, Bok had to secure permission from the Minor League Baseball president, Pat O’Connor, for his development team to explore bringing a club that would be willing to play in Malden. After obtaining said permission, Bok and his team had to negotiate with the many individual teams of Major League Baseball in order to find a club that’d be open to the idea of having a minor league associate with Malden. The Boston City Football Club--a Division 4 soccer team--has agreed to play ten-fourteen of their home-games at the stadium mostly on Sunday evenings, and they plan to have their youth programs training there as well. Aside from this, Bok cannot release any other public statements or comments to the public without permission from the Minor League Baseball at the moment.
There has been many concerns among the residential neighborhoods about the noise volume/impacts from the stadium, but the team is certain that there won’t be an issue since they will be contacting with a acoustics/noise consultant. The ballpark will be designed with the seats being aligned in the south and east direction. Since the Edgemont neighborhood is located on the west part, the residents will be at a fair distance from the noise impacts with the open sides of the stands being positioned away from the area. The Bell Rock neighborhood won't be affected as well, so the noise will not carry on to the commercial properties and roadways along the site. Mark Rosenshein of the Architectural group was chosen as the interior designer for the project. For more than 44 years, the firm have developed different types of designs for range of building types and programs such as senior housings, healthcare facilities etc.
Minor League night games will run for about three and a half hours, with the games usually starting at 7:00pm. If the team is able to get a permit to showcase fireworks from the city, then a post-game show would take place on a Friday or Saturday for only an hour. For concerts events, it will usually start at 8:00pm and end no later than 11pm. Selling concessions will take place in-house because it controls provides affordable prices for residents and controls a better range of options.
Mayor Gary Christenson believes that this project has potential to add “a whole new dynamic for Malden,” especially since it can bring affordable entertainment for families and residents. He says that one of the benefits that will come of this field is that it will be, “home to the Malden High School Golden Tornadoes Varsity Baseball team.” Another benefit Mayor Christenson explains that, “[the field] brings a significant level of investment, jobs, affordable entertainment, and environmental benefits through the cleanup of a contaminated site.” The new field has the potential to host other forms of entertainment, such as concerts and movie nights as well. He revealed as of right now, there are still agreements pending with the lessor, National Grid must be secured and there’s still negotiation among the remaining properties. Many benefits will come into play for local residents, as there are over 100 part time jobs during the future baseball seasons once the project is finished.