Minor-league team threatens to leave Altoona if 17-year-old stadium isn’t upgraded, this is getting nuts

How far has the trend of sports teams demanding upgrades to not-even-20-year-old stadiums spread? To Altoona, Pennsylvania, that’s how far:

A plan to fund improvements to Peoples Natural Gas Field, home of the Altoona Curve (Class AA; Eastern League), is needed to keep the team in central Pennsylvania.

Two proposals could generate revenue for a fund to enable maintenance and improvements to the ballpark. First, Logan Township is considering a plan to lessen its amusement tax on tickets and diverting the difference to a maintenance fund. Second, Blair County is considering whether to implement a hike in the hotel tax and putting that money toward the ballpark.

Ballpark Digest, citing the paywalled Altoona Mirror, says the initial upgrades would only cost $2.5 million, but presumably any “maintenance fund” could be used for any additional later improvements as well. The important number, though, is 1999, the year the Curve‘s new stadium opened — meaning here’s a Double-A minor-league team threatening to leave town (or threatening to have the league lean on it to leave town, it’s not entirely clear) because its stadium is turning 17 years old. Rod Fort’s quip about teams getting a new stadium every year is becoming less and less of a joke every day.

14 comments on “Minor-league team threatens to leave Altoona if 17-year-old stadium isn’t upgraded, this is getting nuts

  1. It has been years since I read the book Godfather, but it seems there was a part about the descendants of the mob being encouraged to go into education or the sports industry to get away from their life of crime and family occupation. Could it be they did, but the evil ways of extortion and strong arming were just transplanted. If any Godfather expert knows the page I read that on, please let me know I did not imagine it.

  2. Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin Fl (home of Single A and Blue Jays Spring Training) has been deemed by Blue Jays to be inadequate and have been in negotiation with that city. It is 26 years old so all the passion must be used up in it. I have been to a game there and as a parent and beer drinker it is a great location (next to the library and a playground plus walks to the water or downtown or the 3 breweries there).


  3. Along with remedial courses in basic math, all elected representatives should have to watch the famous “Cleavon Little hostage scene” from Blazing Saddles until they fully understand what it really means to take yourself hostage.

    Following that, all this professional/semi professional sports business subsidy thing should disappear in a puff of smoke…

  4. Baseball teams being run by the Mafia. It makes sense…. Perhaps the FBI can use those Rico laws to not only put these Mafia baseball guys in jail but also the politicos that help spread the extortion in return for contributions and jobs to family.

  5. I’ve heard the stadium is pretty nice, but the situation illustrates the hazards of very small communities trying to keep up with the modern nonsense of minor league baseball.

    Altoona and Blair County are hardly rich communities and getting smaller by the year as population decamps to other places. Baseball, one way or another, won’t change that.

  6. The first question to ask is who is responsible under the lease for maintenance? If it is the city/town and they haven’t been keeping up with it then a maintenance fund makes sense for both the team and city.. If it is the team then the team should pay. If it wasn’t defined in the agreement, then it’s on the city to fix it.

    The easiest way to create a rundown ballpark after a few years is to not include a funded maintenance clause in a lease. Many (or at least some) teams have part of the rent go specifically to maintenance that both sides agree upon. $2.5 Million would barely cover replacing of old incanincandescent field lights.

    The second question is what drugs were the groundskeepers using when they cut the grass in the headline photo? It’s as if there was a competition for different parts of the field to be completely different patterns that the other parts.


  7. In reply to John Bladen’s comment … when you mentioned Blazing Saddles, I was sure you were going to reference another famous scene from that movie, seeing that this is Peoples Natural Gas Field.
    “More beans Mr. Taggart?”

  8. I wish I could find a way for users to go back and edit comments, too, but I haven’t dug one up yet.

    And agreed about the groundskeepers. Maybe it was Quilting Appreciation Day?

  9. I particularly like the circular bullseye pattern behind third base / shortstop. Perhaps it has something to do with having Peoples’ Natural Gas?

    Poor ballpark is already at a disadvantage with that name.


  10. Oh my, seeing the Curve play was the only reason I put “visit Altoona Pennsylvania” on my bucket list.

  11. I’ve been to that stadium and it is really nice for AA.

    But, if you think someone might give you money, why not threaten to leave?

  12. Think that picture might have been taken for its great perspective when deciding on options on how to cut the field for the upcoming year? It’s a great ballpark; cheap to take your family to or hang out with friends on the weekend and just relax, awesome to see the start of its dimise for more money but that’s become the new American dream…