Summer collegiate baseball is returning to Saratoga Springs and could be bringing a new stadium.
June will mark the first season for the Saratoga Brigade, a collection of college baseball players from around the country, which will mark the return of this type of baseball in the city since the Saratoga Phillies left in 2009. Accompany this return is a plan by the team to spend about $450,000 on a new stadium at Geyser Park.
The developments are being spearheaded by Keith Rogers and Dan Scaring, managing partners of the Brigade and formerly the owners of the Phillies. The Phillies played at the East Side Rec from 2004 to 2009, before moving to Oneonta.
“We never blamed anybody but ourselves,” Rogers said of the move from Saratoga Springs.
The move to Oneonta in 2010 was a unique opportunity because the team could play in a minor league field with a full clubhouse and locker rooms. The facility in Saratoga Springs lacked much seating, had few amenities for the players and a small snack bar.
Ultimately, the move was sparked by a chance to make some revenue. “We were about $150,000 in debt,” Rogers said.
The three years they spent in Oneonta, he said, served as a learning experience for the partners, who are confident they’ll be able to succeed this go-around.
A major a part of their plan is building a new stadium, with bleachers, boxes and a full-scale concession stand. They’ve been working on this proposal with city officials for the past few months.
“The exciting thing is that we’ve got a real nice proposal that will go before the city council [on March 19],” Rogers said.
They plan to unveil their full plan for the site at that meeting.
Once they get approval the plan is to start construction on April 1. They have outlined an eight-week construction schedule that would allow them to start their season there in June. If there are any delays or approval problems, Rogers said they’re prepared to start their season at the East Side Rec.
He anticipates that the new stadium will also benefit local youth programs and noted that admission to Brigade games will be free, like the Phillies games were.
Rogers is also excited about the team’s inclusion in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Brigade is the first team from New York to be in the league, which he said was something they had wanted to do in the past, but the timing wasn’t right. The new league, he said, should allow the Brigade to attract “a more mature player,” including players from Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
The team’s mascot is a Revolutionary War soldier, which is a reference to the city’s pivotal role in the country’s war for independence.
More about the team can be found at www.saratogabrigade.com. Anyone interested in hosting a player or a media internship should email firstname.lastname@example.org.