Around the League

Maryland Breaks Ground on Hagerstown Ballpark

(October 20, 2022, New York) – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Stadium Authority on Tuesday (October 18, 2022) broke ground on a new multi-use and sports facility in the heart of downtown Hagerstown that will serve as the home of a new team in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)l. A project long sought by local Hagerstown leaders, the ballpark will not only host an ALPB team but will also be the site of sports, cultural, and community events.

Atlantic League Chairman and Founder Frank Boulton took part in the groundbreaking ceremony. It is expected that the Hagerstown franchise will begin play in the ALPB in 2024. The new team’s ownership group consists of Howard “Blackie” Bowen and his wife, Virginia “Ginny” Bowman as well as Don Bowman, James Holzapfel, and Boulton. Downtown Baseball, LLC will announce a team naming contest among citizens of Hagerstown, Washington County and Western Maryland to determine the new team’s identity. 

The Atlantic League was founded in 1998 and has provided a gateway to the Major Leagues for 24 years. As the first Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, the Atlantic League has sent over 1,000 players to MLB organizations while drawing over 44 million fans to its ballparks through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.

“This is a project that had been talked about around here, on and off, for decades, but had never gotten off the ground. It truly is Hagerstown’s very own ‘Field of Dreams,’” said Governor Hogan. “When I became governor, I pledged that Western Maryland—and all of rural Maryland—would no longer be forgotten or ignored, and that we would work together at all levels of government to revitalize this incredibly historic city of Hagerstown, and that is exactly what we have done.”

In 2021, legislation was introduced and successfully shepherded through the Maryland General Assembly by Senators Paul Corderman and George Edwards allowing the MSA to issue bonds for a new Hagerstown facility to be owned and operated by the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation (CHIEF) and leased by an Atlantic League team. The governor’s supplemental budget provided $8.5 million toward this effort, and another $1.5 million was designated in the FY23 capital budget.

City, county, and state officials, along with ownership group Downtown Baseball LLC, see the facility as a catalyst for downtown revitalization, as well as further economic development and tourism for Washington County and western Maryland.

The MSA was established over 35 years ago and managed the construction and design of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the world-class facility in Major League Baseball that inspired urban revitalization across the nation and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary season. Additional Minor League Baseball facilities constructed by MSA include Regency Furniture Stadium (2008), the home of the Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, and Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium (2002).

PHOTO CUTLINE (L-R):

Jeffery Cline, President, Board of Washington County Commissioners
Thomas Kelso, Chairman, Maryland Stadium Authority
David Trone, U.S. Representative, 6th Congressional District
Frank Boulton, Atlantic League founder and CEO
Howard “Blackie” Bowen, Downtown Baseball, LLC
Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland
Greg Snook, President and CEO for the Washington County Industrial Foundation (CHIEF)
Don Bowman, Downtown Baseball, LLC
Jim Holzapfel, Downtown Baseball, LLC
Linda Ebersole, Downtown Baseball, LLC
Emily Keller, Mayor, City of Hagerstown
Gary McGuigan, Executive Vice President, Maryland Stadium Authority

 

About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

The Atlantic League is the first Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent over 1,000 players to MLB organizations while drawing over 42 million fans to its family friendly ballparks throughout its 24-year history. Please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.

 



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