Columbia Blowfish unveil master plans for new Lexington County Baseball Stadium
Lexington County officials and members of the Columbia Blowfish baseball team took another big step Tuesday toward bringing the baseball team to Lexington County.
Master plans of the new Lexington County Baseball Stadium were unveiled Tuesday during a ceremony at the future home of the stadium on Ball Park Road off of U.S. Highway 1.
The stadium will be built on what is now the old Lexington High School football field, or Wildcat Hollow, and will take up 15 acres of the 20 acres purchased for the project.
The new stadium will accommodate 3,ooo people, which Blowfish President Bill Shanahan said he thinks will give fans a more intimate feeling at games compared with what they have now at Capital City Stadium.
“Capital City Stadium holds 6,ooo, so when you downsize to an intimate 3,000 seat ballpark, it will always look full,” he said. “We average nearly 2,000 a game at Capital City Stadium and it’s such a vast stadium, you never maybe feel that intimacy like you’ll feel at the new Lexington County Baseball Stadium. I think small is better.”
Quakenbush Architects and Planning will lead the building project, which is expected to start construction this fall and be completed in May before the 2015 season.
The firm’s president, Doug Quakenbush, said the plan is to embrace the amenities the land provides for a stadium.
“We started with the conversation about what’s going to maximize the fan experience,” he said. “This really is a design that’s taking advantage of the assets that are here, but really making it into a wonderful place to see the ball game, bring your family and really have some synergy with all this.”
Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougal was on hand for the ceremony as well and said the stadium will have a big economic impact on the county and hopes it might even change some attitudes.
“It’s about time people realize we know baseball around Lexington and Lexington County,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting to have a big league team come into Lexington and setting up shop. It’s a great impact for us. A great amenity to have in our community and we’re really looking forward to it.”
The stadium also will bring a Major League feature to baseball fans in Lexington. Field dimensions in the stadium will be the same as some of the most storied fields in baseball.
Right field will be 302 feet, the same as in Fenway Park in Boston; center field will be 400 feet like in Wrigley Field in Chicago; left field will be the same as in old Yankee Stadium at 318 feet; and from home plate to the backstop will be 55 feet, the same as in Dodger Stadium.
“We wanted to bring a little tradition of major league baseball to this ball park,” Shanahan said.
Blowfish head coach Jonathon Johnson said he’s extremely excited for the move to Lexington and happy to be part of something that will be a mainstay in the Midlands.
“This is a joint venture with the county and Blowfish to be the anchor tenant and everything to be revolved around you is something special,” he said. “I definitely think we have a leg up on any program with the new facility as well as being the team the whole stadium is based around.”
The Blowfish play in the Coastal Plain League, which reaches from South Carolina through North Carolina and to Virginia. The Blowfish also have the ability to handpick players, and Shanahan said because of this, the new ball park will have an even more local feel.
“When we say our hometown team, this is truly, and literally, our hometown team. The Lexington County Blowfish baseball club,” he said.