September 26, 2021

‘Dugout of Dreams’ Part of New Can-Am Stadium Experience

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

     The Can-Am League will be the last of the Independent leagues to open, starting next Thursday (May 26), and it will be another three weeks before the new Rockland Boulders get to inaugurate their 4,300-seat ballpark in Ramapo, NY.  But it seems an understatement to say the enthusiasm is building in Rockland County, which is only about an hour north of New York City.

      “It is the best thing this side of the big leagues”, praised veteran baseball manager Dave LaPoint, who will guide the Boulders in their new playpen, which was very much in doubt because of the opposition of some in the area until a few months ago.

      Any lingering opposition should have been pretty well cast aside this week when Provident Bank, a local entity, purchased naming rights for a reported $2.75 million dollars over the next 10 years.

       “We can see the finish line” from the project that started in July of 2009, President Ken Lehner said Thursday.  Lehner is putting his marketing experience, which earned him championship rings from the World Series (Florida Marlins) and Stanley Cup (Tampa Bay) and had him at the forefront of baseball building projects at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL and Buffalo, NY, to the test.

      “You have to market the whole experience,” he said, for the “ton of baseball fans in this area.”

      One of the neatest opportunities seems certain to be selling the “Dugout of Dreams”.  Provident Bank Park’s home dugout will stretch some 150 feet, all the way to shallow right-field, with half of it being for the Boulders and half for 30 fans a game, who will only be separated from the players by a glass partition while they munch sunflower seeds, chew bubble gum and drink Gatorade.  Talk about feeling like you are in the game. 

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Mike Rivera Back in Majors, Wilhelmsen Goes Down to Start

       Former Atlantic League catcher Mike Rivera (Atlantic City, NJ) is back with the Milwaukee Brewers for the fifth time in six years and his ninth major league season overall.  Rivera, 34, was brought up this week from Triple-A Nashville, where he hit .250 with three homers and 10 RBI in 18 games.

       Going the opposite way, Seattle sent rookie pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen to Double-A Jackson, TN so he could get some work.  Wilhelmsen became quite a story when he made the Opening Day roster since he was out of pro baseball entirely for five years (2004-08) until the Golden League’s Tucson (AZ) Toros got him away from his bartending and coed softball activity and resurrected the career of the 6-foot-6 hurler, who still is only 27.  He had not pitched above Class A until this season.

       The Mariners want Wilhelmsen to begin working as a starter.  “I’m very happy about starting,” he told

Winnipeg Games Go National on TV in Canada

       Baseball fans all across Canada are going to be able to find out what Independent Baseball has to offer.  Nineteen Winnipeg Goldeyes games are being telecast on Shaw Direct, which some say is exposure for the American Association team not unlike what Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs had for years on TBS and WGN, respectively.

       (This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes year round on Independent Baseball.  Fans may subscribe at newly reduced rates at, enjoy his blogs, and, or comment to  The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)

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