Could Bosse Field Host a Future Major League Baseball Game?
Baseball is America's National Pastime. Records show the different versions of the game were played as early as the 18th century in different parts of the country. While it hasn't been around quite that long in Evansville, we're certainly passionate about it. Bosse Field is a testament to that. Built in the early 1900s, it hosted its first game on June 17th, 1915. In the 106 years since, it's been home to numerous teams, including the Detroit Tigers Triple-A affiliate, the Evansville Triplets from 1970 until 1984, and of course, the Evansville Otters for the last 26 years. What it hasn't done to my knowledge in its long and storied history, is host two Major League Baseball teams for a game. Could that be changing in the future?
Earlier this week, MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred said during a press conference the League is looking at hosting more regular season games at "non-traditional venues" after the success of the "Field of Dreams" game in August. A game that drew more than 7,000 fans to a cornfield four miles outside Dyersville, Iowa, a town of just under 4,500 people, to watch the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox play. It also featured quite possibly the coolest start to a game in League history (in my opinion, anyway).
Evansville 411 NEWS on Facebook picked up Manfred's comments and asked their followers who would like to see an MLB game at Bosse Field. As you can imagine the question was met with hundreds of positive responses and thousands of likes which leaves little to no doubt that if Major League Baseball were to consider bringing a game here, it would have the full support of fans in the area.
Could it happen? Anything is possible. As a matter of fact, one of the people to comment on Evansville 411 NEWS's post was Evansville Deputy Mayor Steve Schafer who commented with three simple, yet powerful words — "Working on it." Honestly, Major League Baseball would be crazy not to at least consider it for a few reasons...
1. It's the Third Oldest Active Ballpark in America
As I've already mentioned, Bosse Field has a rich history with the game and is currently the third-oldest active ballpark in all of America. Only Fenway Park in Boston (1914) and Wrigley Field in Chicago (1912) are older.
2. It Offers (Close to) Professional Dimensions
Despite sitting in the middle of a city block, Bosse Field is nearly just as big as a standard MLB field (meaning the actual field of play, not the stadium as a whole). According to Dimensions.com, the minimum distance from home plate to the left field and right field walls is 320, and from home to the center field wall is 400 feet. Bosse comes up five feet shy at 315 for left and right field but exceeds the minimum for center field by 15 feet. For what's worth, the aforementioned Field of Dreams is 335 feet to left and right field, and 400 feet to center.
3. Seating Capacity
As it stands now, Bosse holds 5,181 people. However, there are no bleachers behind the outfield wall with the exception of a patio deck overlooking the field from behind the right field wall. I'm sure it's easier said than done, but I imagine some temporary bleachers could be installed behind left and center field that could accommodate another 1,000 to 1,500 people. That would bring it closer to the Field of Dreams capacity of 8,000.
Honestly, the park's history alone should be enough for MLB to at least hear the City's pitch for bringing a game here. Imagine the Cardinals and Cubs, two teams with fiercely loyal fans here in the Tri-State, stepping out of the dugouts along the first and third baselines to play each other in a game. It would not only be amazing for the fans but think about the potential economic boost the city could see from such an event.
I don't know what needs to be done to make this happen, but let's hope that whatever it is, the City is willing to do it.