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Birdball: Where Could BC Play Ball? Part II

Let's have some fun and put BC at some more places around Massachusetts, shall we?

Jared Wickerham

Part I of our series about a potential off-campus home for BC generated some good, solid conversation in the comments thread. To review, BC announced in its ten-year plan that they would build new stadiums on Brighton campus for the baseball and softball programs. Ground hasn't yet been broken, so, excluding any argument about "dismantling" or "shuttering" the program, let's turn the discussion towards some other potential landing spots for the Birdballers.

Before we begin, let's state that the Eagles will stay on campus; that's the desire of the coaching staff and it would take a perfect deal for BC to move. For argument's sake, let's weigh the positives and negatives:

Fraser Field, Lynn

Why It Works: Fraser Field is a Greater Boston institution. It's hosted minor league teams over the years, including the defunct Massachusetts Mad Dogs and the former Lynn Pirates. The infield has synthetic FieldTurf with a natural grass outfield, has ample seating for a minor league stadium, and has a functioning press box. Its current inhabitants are just the North Shore Navigators of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, meaning their season won't start before June as part of summer baseball. That pretty much assures the Eagles of being the lone inhabitant of the stadium for their own private use. For BC's sake, too, it's ready-built and ready-to-go, meaning they could have the facility proposed in Malden without having to wait for city approvals and construction. It's also proven as a field that has stayed throughout the years; teams come and go, but Fraser Field is almost always populated.

Why It Doesn't Work: Despite being the home field of a summer league team, Fraser Field is nearly impossible to get to. It's not easily accessible by highway; it's off Route 107 in Lynn, but it's not that close to Route 1 or Route 93. That creates a bus ride of nearly 45 minutes from Chestnut Hill to the stadium with minimal public transportation access. And then there's the location; Lynn is Lynn. No matter how we try to slice it, the neighborhood isn't exactly teeming with places to eat before or after a game. And the places that are there aren't exactly the best. If BC wants to move to a full-time home off-campus, without a change in the program's status at all, they could move here. Despite how happy it would probably make Joe Grav, Lynn is essentially a poor man's trip to Malden.

Feasibility of BC moving (scale of 1-10): 3. If BC were to move to Fraser Field, it would signify a willingness to move off campus just to have a full-time home. The only reason for moving here is if construction begins on Shea Field with no plans for a stadium in sight. Like I said, teams come and go, but Fraser Field always remains.

UMass Boston/BC High Baseball Field, Boston

Why It Works: Hey, if we can't have Fenway, why can't we have something like it? UMass-Boston's baseball team has been playing off campus since its inception; as part of a larger campus expansion, the Beacons are building a Fenway Park replica at their campus in Dorchester off by the JFK Library. The stadium will have dimensions similar to Fenway Park in that it'll resemble the old ball yard, and it'll be the home of both UMB and BC High.

While UMB and BC High will create a time crunch for use of the field, I can't see why BC can't get in on this. It'll have a full working press box and enough seating to at least accommodate people who want to come to the games. Is it the ideal stadium? Not by a long shot for a Division I baseball program, but it'll be nicer than Shea Field given that at least the Beacons are putting in a gimmick. And the tie-in with BC High is underutilized as well. Given the old history of Double Eagles and Triple Eagles, it'll be something for the alumni to conjure up memories when going to BC High meant going to BC or bust for local Catholic boys in Southie.

Why It Doesn't Work: Honestly? There isn't a good reason why it doesn't, other than the time crunch caused by being the home field for a college and a high school baseball team. It'll be one of the nicer stadiums in the nation because it'll resemble Fenway, a concept that appears overblown at first glance but is really underutilized by colleges and high schools who can't get on Fenway because of the Red Sox iron fist. Its location is great; the Boston waterfront over by JFK isn't a terrible drive from BC, and it's relatively easy to get to. The only problem would be if a midweek game happened during rush hour; try driving through Downtown Boston into the Southeast Expressway. That half hour drive becomes Atlanta in 2 inches of snow.

The other reason it doesn't work is, quite honestly, because BC can't go to a new stadium built for a new school's Division III baseball team. If the ACC laughs at BC because of its facility, moving to a new stadium built for a new program at a school in your city that's not even D1 would be a disaster for public relations. The fact that UMass-Boston built a stadium before BC would only make people laugh at BC even worse at the fact that they can't build their own field for the Eagles.

Feasibility of BC Move: 0. I think this would be a great move for BC. I really do. BUT I also don't see it happening. Remember this is all hypotheticals. If there was a no repercussion move to make, it would be here. But there is NO WAY BC humbles itself to the point where it rents space from a D3, Little East Conference school.

Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields, Cambridge

Why it Works: Developed by three non-profit groups, the dilapidated area around the Esplanade in Boston was completely renovated in honor of a young Red Sox fan who died in a tragic plane crash in 2004. Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields developed three baseball/softball fields, a regulation soccer field, and five youth soccer fields. It has a $2 million irrigation system, great dugouts, and professional lighting. It's a beautiful field, and it's one that gets overlooked by many on the drive on Storrow Drive. It also offers a great view over the Charles or at the Brownstones dotting the Boston Common area of Copley, just a couple of miles from campus.

It's the type of facility Boston College should probably already be using. There's a large metal gated fence around the field, preventing it from being used without authorized permission at the behest of private donors. And it's largely underutilized since its renovation (most likely because the Red Sox are involved, and they need to profit off everything). The grounds are a solid baseball field, and while it's going to be tough to develop for fans, it's not like college baseball is a huge draw anyways. Parking's an issue, but again, if this is a temporary solution until something happens, it's probably the best long-term temporary solution.

Why It Doesn't Work: There's a reason these fields are ludicrously underutilized, and we have no idea what it is. It's safe to assume the rental fee is through the roof. And parking is an issue; if the ACC wants BC to be at a stadium where they can draw fans, this isn't it.

The Ebersol Fields at Lederman Park have great design, but they're just not accessible. Say what we will about Shea Field, but parking is far from the problem. The Eagles have ample parking; they just don't have seating. Let's take parking out of the equation and keep the same minimal seating; why is this a good move again?

Feasibility of BC Moving: 7. Look, I'm playing with hypotheticals. We all know BC is going to stay in Chestnut Hill. But if they were to move to a place, besides an actual stadium, this is the one that probably makes the most sense. It's in the heart of Boston, easily accessible from BC, and has beautiful grounds with sweeping views of the Charles River. Plus it's right in Harvard's back yard, and I'd love to do something that might anger the Crimson.