The Saratoga Phillies moved to greener pastures this spring, becoming the Oneonta Outlaws.
The Phillies, a team in the New York Collegiate Baseball League, used to play at East Side Recreation Field after friends Keith Rogers and Dan Scaring started the team in 2004.
When the minor league Oneonta Tigers announced they planned to move their team to Norwich, Conn., the managing partners of the Phillies saw their chance to take the franchise to Oneonta and play in Demaschke Field.
“We were lucky enough to be able to slide in and take over their lease,” Rogers said.
In their new digs, the Outlaws will be the only team playing and will have their own concession vendor, be able to sell beer and have a full clubhouse and locker rooms for both home and away teams.
At East Side Rec, the team shared the field with several youth baseball groups and one adult team, making scheduling rain makeups very difficult.
And because the field is owned by Saratoga Springs City School District, the team wasn’t allowed to serve alcohol.
Rogers and Scaring announced the move at the end of March and will play their first game in about two weeks.
The team’s managers are proud to be at Demaschke Field, where Babe Ruth played in 1920, said Stephen Pindar, president of operations.
“The people in Oneonta are very, very happy that baseball is still here,” he said.
Advance ticket sales are good, and Rogers expects thousands of fans each summer, a much better turnout at games than the Phillies had. They’ve already nearly sold out of box seats.
The Outlaws also are able to charge admission to games, and in Saratoga they weren’t.
“It was more like a community-based team,” Rogers said of the Phillies. “Where now, we actually have a stadium. It’s everything that Dan and I always wanted. We always wanted to be in a baseball community.”
For its part, the city is not looking for another collegiate-level baseball team because the field is already bustling with the youth and adult teams, said recreation director Linda Terricola.