Friday, June 17, 2011


It was just as pre-game ceremonies were starting when I asked Miles Wolff how many of these events he had been a part of in his 19 years as commissioner of an Independent league.

With little more than a shake of the head and a grin, it was obvious the Can-Am League boss had no idea of the answer.

One thing is certain: Not many could match the magnificence of the first-year Rockland Boulders stadium an hour north of New York City in Ramapo, NY.

Provident Bank Park, rushed all winter and spring to get near completion, attracted what was called a standing-room-only crowd of 6,317 (there were some open seats in both outfield sections) and the Boulders obliged with a sparkling 3-1 win over Brockton, MA. Dave LaPoint's team had to be happy to be home since its first 16 games (5-11) were on foreign soil, including eight defeats in a row.

But this game was much more about the new $38 million playpen tucked in the Ramapo Mountains. The plan to build the stadium had been disputed by many, as often is the case with such projects, but city fathers plus President Ken Lehner and his partners had their say.

The stadium seems to have everything: It has spaciousness for watching, chatting and eating, a lush, green playing surface and multitudes of fascinating touches. Want to see a handsome bridge. Got it. Need a kid's zone. Rightfield corner. Picnic area with a grand view of the diamond. Check. Crystal clear high-definition scoreboard complete with replays from the crew of at least 10. You bet.

My suggestion is that anyone within reach check it out for themselves because I have not included many of the amenities.

Oh, I did come upon a couple of blips. One concession stand was out of pizza by the fourth inning, and closer Adrian Martin, who got to nail down the first game win, admitted with a wry smile as he was waiting for his pre-game introduction that the 313-foot sign in front of the picnic area in the rightfield corner might be just a tad short to give pitchers comfort.

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