Bernie Robbins Stadium
|Former names||The Sandcastle (1998-2006)|
|Location||545 North Albany Avenue
Atlantic City, New Jersey 08401
|Operator||Atlantic City Surf (1998-2008)|
Left Field: 309 feet (94 m)
Center Field: 400 feet (120 m)Right Field: 309 feet (94 m)
|Construction cost||$15 million|
|Atlantic City Surf (Atlantic League/Can-Am League) (1998-2008)|
Bernie Robbins Stadium is a 5,500-seat baseball stadium in Atlantic City, New Jersey that opened in 1998 and has been mostly closed since 2009, although some renovation was performed in 2011 and 2012. The stadium was officially renamed as Surf Stadium in April 2012, and hosted a few events in 2012. The stadium was called The Sandcastle until 2006, and has continued to be referred to by that name in some sources. It was built as the home of the Atlantic City Surf baseball team, which discontinued operations prior to the 2009 season. College and youth teams have also used the stadium, and a music concert was held there in 2011.
The stadium is located on Albany Avenue, near the eastern terminus of U.S. Routes 40 and 322 and several blocks inland from the Boardwalk and casino strip. The casinos are visible from the seating areas.
Seating is in two primary sections, split by a "cross aisle". Luxury boxes are located above the main seating bowl.
The stadium, originally known as The Sandcastle, opened in 1998 on a parcel located on the sprawling Bader Field, a closed municipal airport. When the park first opened, the seating sections were named for the various properties on the U.S. version of the Monopoly board, which took its names from the streets of Atlantic City and surrounding towns. However, saying "I'm sitting in Pacific Avenue" was not sufficiently descriptive, and so the seating sections were assigned numbers, as at most other stadiums. In 2006, the Bernie Robbins jewelry chain purchased the naming rights and the stadium was renamed as "Bernie Robbins Stadium".
Bernie Robbins Stadium played host to the Atlantic League All-Star Game in 1998 and 2005 as well as to various amateur baseball events and concerts. In October 2006, it was the venue for Atlantic regional qualifying for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. In May 2008, WCAU-TV sports director and former NFL player Vai Sikahema accepted an open challenge from former MLB player Jose Canseco to fight him in a celebrity boxing match for $5,000. Canseco claims to have earned black belts in Kung Fu, Taekwondo, and Muay Thai, while Sikahema, who grew up wanting to be a professional boxer, had once fought in a National Golden Gloves Championship that was eventually won by Sugar Ray Leonard. The fight, dubbed the "War At The Shore", took place on July 12, 2008, and was hosted by Philadelphia-native adult film personality Steven Sheaffer. Sikahema won by knockout in the first round.
After the stadium closed, its condition seriously deteriorated due to lack of maintenance and vandalism. However, the abandoned stadium received considerable restoration in 2011 to prepare it to be used as a VIP area for a three-day musical festival headlined by the Dave Matthews Band that was held at the former Bader Field airport. Most of the improvements focused on repairing the facility's fire-suppression system and plumbing, as well as rejuvenating the field itself. The stadium was used for VIP seating for special ticket holders for the festival, and for a "Summer Fest" concert featurimg rapper Rick Ross.
- Baseball is back at Atlantic City's Surf Stadium with start of Babe Ruth tournament, Press of Atlantic City, Aug. 3, 2012
- Atlantic City's Sandcastle Stadium Officially Renamed Surf Stadium, Press of Atlantic City, April 12, 2012
- Michael Clark (2011-05-15). "Atlantic City government likely to lose money on Dave Matthews Band festival". Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- "Jeweler Buys Local Stadium Naming Rights". 6abc.com. WPVI-TV. May 23, 2006. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
- "Vai Wins War At The Shore", NBC10.com, July 13, 2008. Accessed July 13, 2008.
- "Battered up! Atlantic City's Bernie Robbins Stadium falls into disrepair". Press of Atlantic City. August 27, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
- "Wasted Potential". Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
- "Bernie Robbins Stadium's disrepair is a personal thing for owner of Bernie Robbins name". Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
- Crowds, players long gone from abandoned Atlantic City baseball stadium, Press of Atlantic City, Nov. 28, 2010.
- Regional tournament brings baseball back to Surf Stadium, Shore News Today, Aug. 1, 2012.