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Globe Columnist: Malden Baseball a 'Bad Call' - What Do You Think?

Paul McMorrow: "Even a successful stadium, on its own, doesn’t make for productive urban renewal policy."

A Boston Globe columnist took a swipe at the proposed Malden "Field of Dreams" in his Tuesday column, saying the plan would be a poor use of the .

CommonWealth Magazine associate editor and Boston Globe columnist Paul McMorrow said that ballpark developer Alexander Bok "oozes earnestness," but expressed skepticism the site would be as viable as projected.

McMorrow instead advocates an apartment building and shopping center at the site, and "not a ballpark that draws a few thousand fans 70 nights per year."

He continues: 

"There’s reason to question the proposed Malden team’s business prospects. Independent baseball teams have a history of flaming out around Boston. Two separate bids at running a team in Lynn failed, while the Brockton Rox just announced that they won’t be fielding a team in 2012, after defaulting on a $125,000 lease payment on their publicly owned stadium.

"Plummeting attendance and an eroding season ticket base caused Brockton’s team to run out of cash; attendance averaged a third of stadium capacity over the past two years. So it’s potentially worrisome that the the proposed Malden team is counting on an aggressive 77 percent attendance rate, on a higher ticket price than Brockton. The $36 million ballpark will also mean Malden’s team would be carrying a much higher debt load than failed teams in Brockton and Lynn."

Asked about the Brockton and Lynn cases earlier this month, Bok told ," noting those stadiums played in different leagues that required larger stadiums and about half the games per season.

The stadium will also have multi-use purposes for events like high school sports and summer concerts.

McMorrow counters that the closures nevertheless reflect a troubling trend among such projects in the commonwealth, though Bok insists the market in Malden - with much greater access to public transportation and a higher average income among residents - will be able to sustain the project's projected revenues.

He points to stadiums in St. Paul and Long Island - both with successful Atlantic League teams in a popular major league market - as more appropriate analogies for the project.

“We think Boston is an even better market than that,” he said. “A well-run independent team can do very well.”

What do you think? Do these recent stories about other stadiums concern you, or are conditions just right for a Malden ballpark?

Chris Caesar January 17, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Haha, Paul, a cynic like me isn't about to stifle anyone's negativity on this site :)
Joe Gray January 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Ok. I'm in. Whoever is in charge, make it so.
Amy P. January 17, 2012 at 10:41 PM
@John...and yet. I am with you. =)
John Q January 17, 2012 at 10:42 PM
They could have a blue bag giveaway night!!!! That would pack the joint!
Don January 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Play ball !!!!!
Steven January 18, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Hey Paul, sorry to inform you but New Hampshire does have police details. If you don't know what you're talking about it is best just to be quiet. Guess what it goes into their pension also doesn't here. What was it you did to support your family.I hope the stadium is a huge win for the city. But them what would everyone whine about?
paul surette January 18, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Dear Misinformed Steven, I was a Nashua resident for almost 5 years...and a Hudson resident for almost 2....Nashua and Hudson Police do NOT use police paid details for ANY projects whatsoever. That is the responsibility of the contractors and/or any utility companies. They use what are called 'flag-men' for these projects. If ANY policeman is found to be doing a 'paid detail' on a city-funded project, then they would be subject to termination! Gee, Steve....if I didn't know any better, I could swear you were a cop. :) Fact is, in Massachusetts, when policemen are used for these types of 'details',a valuable resource is being needlessly used. We cry in Massachusetts about how we don't have enough police...but we all know why...our police are too busy doing a useless detail. Years back, I had my wedding reception at Anthony's in Malden. I was told by the owner (guess what is name is) that I had to pay for a paid police detail. All that policeman did was EAT at my wedding! I'm not the only one who feels valuable police resources are being wasted on these details. And as far as the pension which you referred to, how much of that money from details actually makes it's way on the books? Come on Steve! It's time the state got tough with the policeman's union over this!
Gene Pinkham January 19, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Kevin Macchioli nuked this Yellow Journalism in yesterday's Malden Evening News. The Globe author didn't even know that the parcel is Zoned as Industrial B and therfore no housing can be built there. As far as shopping? he must have missed the Stop and Shop, next to the Strop Mall, across the street from the Walgreen's, around the corner from the Super 88, next to the hardware store and so on. Target, Home Depot and General Cinema are not going to build scaled down version of their existing nearby facilities to compete with themselves. Paul, the Detail Cop should not have been eating in the hall you were in. If they need a break they should go to the lounge.
Chris Caesar January 19, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I saw that piece by Maccioli and thought he made pretty strong points. I must admit it didn't even occur to me that the zoning might preclude some of the developments proposed by McMorrow.
robert wilson January 19, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I just can't see a ball park being in the best interests of the City, with the failure of the Brockton team, they are not resuming play next season, I don't think it will be a viable endeavour. I'm sure the property can be put to better use.
Amy P. January 19, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I can see you are passionate about this subject, but if YOU had to pay for the police detail....how was it that the police detail cost the police department anything? Most details are paid by the people/businesses that need them and usually don't come from police funds. That is my understanding anyway. This is about the park though. Why are you most opposed to it? The land isn't owned by Malden, the developers are dumping money into an eyesore, if the baseball team fails, how would that impact Malden anymore than an empty ugly lot....AND Malden is unique to the other failing teams. The T and parking are right there, it is VERY close to Boston without Fenway prices. What do you think?
Amy P. January 19, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Again, Malden is unique...not Brockton or Lynn...much easier to navigate with many commute options.
Chris Caesar January 19, 2012 at 09:48 PM
But so far, it's the only proposal that's come forward. Should the city send out another RFP?
Amy P. January 19, 2012 at 09:54 PM
@Chris....I think the city SHOULD do that.....and I am FOR the ballpark. It's always better to look at many options.
paul surette January 19, 2012 at 09:56 PM
I think some of you didn't understand the piece in the way it was written. Yes, the writer did say that Malden needs housing. However, at no point in his article did he ever say to build any housing on THAT particular site. Sometimes, when people read things, they see what they want to see! As far as 'shopping' goes around that area, I doubt anyone wants to go food shopping (especially at Stop & Shops over-inflated prices) and then cap their baseball experience by going to the Super 88 or Walgreens. Come on Gene, give me a break! Shopping as in outlet stores is what people think, not going to the '88' for fish heads...jesus. As far as what Amy P remarked to, you're right, this isn't about police details, BUT, any construction project, and the public maintainence, is going to require, according to these silly mandates in Massachusetts, PAID police details! As I stated earlier, Steven's comments to me told me he is a policeman. Anytime you mention about taking away a policeman's pay-details, they get a little 'sensitive'.
Chris Caesar January 19, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Of course. I guess my point was more that, if you only got one proposal during your first RFP, there seems to be a limited interest in the parcel among potential developers.
Chris Caesar January 19, 2012 at 10:09 PM
But Paul, he says very explicitly: "With large acreage and immediate transit access, *Malden’s National Grid site* (my emphasis) is crying out for a substantial apartment and shopping complex, not a ballpark that draws a few thousand fans 70 nights per year."
paul surette January 19, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Countless traffic studies have been done over the years in the area being slated for a ballpark., and the results are always the same.....with the flow of traffic that comes through that area on a weekday, it IS congested! Are you going to reinvent the wheel? Now, putting the baseball issue aside for the moment, maybe some of you should be asking yourselves.....why doesn't the city force the owner of the old Rudermann's building to DO something with it. The city certainly has NO problem going after you, the underwriter of the city's tax base! If anyone here disagrees with this, I merely have to mention former city attorney Frank Russell's name... he was FAMOUS for this tactic! I'm sure some of you will know who HE is! As I said the other day, if you want a model of how a city manages a minor league baseball enterprise and all of it's infrastructure, again, I point to Nashua, NH, and Lowell. Just by Malden's sheer size, it will never hope to compete with the likes of those towns! Until Malden decidedly becomes and adult and actually invests in the Pleasant St. area...Malden will be, well.....just Malden! Forget baseball, people. Find something else to wrap your head around!
DannyBoy January 19, 2012 at 11:51 PM
paul, Your words ring true to me. As I said in a previous post on this article, this administration needs to come up with a comprehensive plan to rehabilitate the WHOLE downtown area, not just construct a stadium, and hope that "if we build it, they will come", because that is the wrong mindset and approach to reverse the decline of Malden Center. I have yet to see anyone formulate such a plan.
howard mcgowan January 20, 2012 at 01:52 AM
AS RONALD REAGAN SAID "tear down that wall"
George Lyons February 01, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Either way, whether the proposed Malden Ball Field is built or not, a success or a bust - maybe I'll get to lament it's demise with this iconic Joe Raposo song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF_cV-2SmGA "AND THERE USED TO BE A BALL PARK"
Don February 01, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I have friends near Green St. All say lets build it.
Beverley Mire February 08, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Obviously you haven't noticed that a large percentage of ballplayers are Asian. Your "cynicism" as your friend calls it, is actually stereotyping, and it's offensive.
paul surette February 08, 2012 at 11:39 PM
To Beverley Mire....."a large percentage of ballplayers are Asian" ??? What baseball do you watch? 1% Asian baseball players in the Major Leagues. 1% is a 'large' percentage? Who balances your checkbook?
Kelley February 09, 2012 at 12:17 PM
More stores seem like a nice thing, but then how many people will still end up going to mall?
Kelley February 09, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Good point. I agree.
Shamrock February 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM
What a nastly little know it all you are Paul. What was it you did to help the world again?
paul surette February 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Well, Shamrock ( I had a dog named that once) my contribution? I'm doing all of the free-thinking for you, since you're not coherent enough to see that the baseball park is a done-deal. Apology accepted :)
Shamrock February 10, 2012 at 02:17 PM
That was a great non-answer.
robo June 01, 2013 at 02:25 AM
what else is there to do in Nashua? get it?.....awesome fireworks over the Applebees plaza. yippe.....now lets go get another bloomin' onion.

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