Las Vegas Ballpark
|Address||1650 South Pavilion Center Drive|
|Location||Summerlin, Nevada, US|
|Public transit||RTC Transit Downtown Summerlin Transit Facility|
|Owner||Howard Hughes Corporation|
|Operator||Las Vegas Aviators|
|Record attendance||11,036 (April 9, 2019) Las Vegas Aviators vs. Sacramento River Cats|
|Field size||Left Field – 340 ft (100 m)|
Left Center – 380 ft (120 m)
Center Field – 415 ft (126 m)
Right Field – 340 ft (100 m)
|Acreage||7.65 acres (3.10 ha)|
|Surface||Bandera Bermuda Grass|
|Broke ground||February 23, 2018|
|Opened||April 6, 2019|
|Construction cost||US$150 million|
($153 million in 2018 dollars)
|Las Vegas Aviators (PCL) 2019–present|
Las Vegas Ballpark is a baseball stadium in Summerlin, Nevada in the Las Vegas Valley. It is the home field for the Las Vegas Aviators of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. The stadium is owned by the Howard Hughes Corporation. Las Vegas Ballpark is located in Downtown Summerlin near the intersection of South Pavilion Center Drive and Summerlin Center Drive next to City National Arena and across the street from the Downtown Summerlin shopping center. Construction of the $150 million stadium began in 2018 and was completed in time for the Aviators' 2019 season. It replaced the team's previous home at Cashman Field, where the team had resided since 1983.
The decision to build a new stadium for the team, then known as the 51s, came on the back of many issues both the 51s and Minor League Baseball had with the team's previous stadium, Cashman Field. Players and staff criticized the facility noting poor conditions in the playing surface, bullpens, and clubhouse. The weight room was smaller when compared to other Triple-A stadiums, with infielder Ty Kelly calling it "basically just a room... not an actual weight room". The batting cage was also a point of concern for the players as it was a single lane and only accessible by walking out of the clubhouse to the parking lot. Johnny Monell described the cage as making him feel like he was "back in high school again" and not up to par for a Triple-A stadium. During a 51s game on August 22, 2015, the stadium sewage system backed up, causing raw sewage to flow into the dugouts. The smell was so strong that players were forced to watch the rest of the game from chairs on the field. Team president and chief operating officer Don Logan said, "It's disappointing that Vegas has the worst facility in our league when we have such a great town with the greatest hotels, the greatest dining, the greatest shopping. It's not becoming of this community to have a place like this."
Pacific Coast League commissioner Branch Barrett Rickey expressed his concerns about the feasibility of the continuous usage of Cashman Field as a Triple-A ballpark. In a letter to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority which owned and operated the facility, he wrote: "It needs to be faced that Cashman's days of reliable use are well behind it, a conclusion not limited to experts in Las Vegas. The baseball community also knows it and to such a degree that the big league teams in proximity to Las Vegas have opted for Triple-A affiliations in far less appropriate markets." Partly due to the condition of Cashman field, Las Vegas was considered an affiliate of last resort for most MLB teams, something Las Vegas Ballpark sought to fix.
Approval and groundbreaking
In April 2013, the team was purchased by Summerlin Las Vegas Baseball Club LLC, a joint venture of Howard Hughes Corp. and Play Ball Owners Group, including investors Steve Mack, Bart Wear and Chris Kaempfer, with intentions of moving it to a new stadium in Summerlin. In October 2017, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority approved a 20-year, $80 million naming rights agreement to help pay for a new $150 million 10,000-seat ballpark.
The official groundbreaking was held on February 13, 2018. By April 2018, excavation was 85 percent complete with nearby grading for parking lots about 90 percent complete. By June 2018, it was on schedule to be completed before the 2019 season.
Reservations for tickets began in July 2018. The schedule was announced in August 2018, with the home opener on April 9, 2019. On April 6, the stadium had a soft opening hosting a NIAA Sunset 4A Region high school baseball game between Palo Verde High School and Centennial. The Aviators formally opened the ballpark with a 10–2 win against the Sacramento River Cats on April 9 before a sellout crowd of 11,036. Las Vegas secured the win with a five-run second inning in which Skye Bolt scored the winning run when he came home on a fielding error. Aviators pitchers Chris Bassitt and Daniel Mengden combined to strikeout 14 Sacramento batters. The first home run in ballpark history was hit by Sean Murphy of the Aviators on April 11 against Sacramento.
Amenities and layout
Las Vegas Ballpark includes 22 suites, 400 club-level seats and 350 party deck seats, a center field pool, kids' zone, and several bars. The ballpark features 4Topps Premium Seating breathable mesh seats, with 8,200 seats installed it is the first stadium in sports history with all seats made from breathable mesh. The ballpark's total seating capacity is 10,000. There is a concourse that wraps around the playing field. The field is recessed below the street-level concourse so it can be viewed from the entrances and seats.
Las Vegas Ballpark has the largest video board in minor league baseball at 3,930 square feet (365 m2). The Daktronics video board is 31 feet (9.4 m) high by 126 feet (38 m) wide and features a 13 HD pixel layout. There are LED ribbon boards are installed on the facings of each side of the upper deck; these are used to display the inning, score, count, and advertisements. The stadium also has indoor batting cages, a weight room and a rehabilitation center. The bullpen for each team is in right field. The park dimensions are 340 feet (100 m) to right and left field, and 380 feet (120 m) to left-center and 415 feet (126 m) to center. The home run wall, with the exception of left field where the wall is 14 feet (4.3 m) high, is 10 feet (3.0 m) high.
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- Ballpark, Las Vegas (2019-04-06). "Baseball at the Ballpark! With the Aviators on the road, we hosted a soft opening at #LVBallpark with the Palo Verde and Centennial HS baseball teams.pic.twitter.com/39tRaJfZrx". @thelvballpark. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
- Jesse Granger (August 2, 2018). "1st Game at New Las Vegas Ballpark Set for April 9/". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
- "River Cats vs. Aviators Box Score - 04/09/19". Minor League Baseball. April 9, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
- Aviators, Las Vegas (2019-04-11). "SEAN MURPHY WITH THE FIRST AVIATOR HOMERUN IN LV BALLPARK HISTORY Let it fly! Murphy secures a 3 run homer in the bottom of the 8th bringing the score to - 11 , - 2pic.twitter.com/14wEnl2J1m". @AviatorsLV. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
- Kraft, Alex (October 10, 2017). "Report: 51s to Move Into New Ballpark in 2019". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
- Nikki Bowers (2018). "Las Vegas Ballpark to get comfy mesh seats for fans". Las Vegas Now. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
- Brewer, Ray (2019-04-03). "Dig into the Las Vegas Aviators' shiny new Downtown Summerlin ballpark - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper". lasvegassun.com. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
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