September 23, 2021

Rave Reviews for Newest Can-Am Stadium For the Rockland Boulders

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The consensus seemed unanimous.

The Can-Am League’s new Rockland (NY) Boulders have a winner in $38 million Provident Bank Park, which opened—and appeared virtually completed—to a sold out crowd Thursday night.

A 6,000-seat facility only an hour or so north of New York City it has all the amenities any new stadium should have plus uniqueness.   Fans can walk completely around the stadium, especially to admire the leftfield bridge reminiscent of the nearby Palisades Parkway. The huge video board has a quality picture the likes of which I cannot recall in any Independent Baseball edifice, and both bleachers and a Fenway Park-like seating area also are in the outfield.

“The architects were most pleased with the outfield (design),” lauded Can-Am Commissioner Miles Wolff, explaining why that part of the ballpark was getting so much attention.  “I’m happy for the league (with the stadium),” he said,  as well he should be since it will no doubt bolster the Can-Am’s attendance and probably its overall prestige.

“One day I realized I had been standing there for two hours (on the concourse behind home plate) just looking around,” said Boulders Manager Dave LaPoint. The implication was clear:  Everywhere the former major league pitcher looked there was something new to admire.

Longtime major league shortstop Bud Harrelson, part of the ownership group of the Long Island (NY) Ducks (Atlantic League) where LaPoint managed last season, showed up to support his friend.  “Ballparks like this—the modern ones—are great for the fans,” he commented.

Wily Mo Pena Top Vote-Getter for Triple-A All-Stars

Wily Mo Pena’s powerful bat continues to do everything except get him back to the major leagues.

The latest eye-opener for the 29-year-old is to lead all vote-getters so far for the Triple-A All-Star Game in Salt Lake City July 13.  The Arizona farmhand has had two more explosive games in the last week for Reno, NV, a 5-for-6 performance with two doubles and three RBIs June 11 and a 4-for-5 game with two doubles, his 21st home run and five driven in Wednesday night.

If there is a major drawback to getting back to the majors soon it is the fact he is primarily a designated hitter in a National League organization.  Pena, who was at Bridgeport, CT (Atlantic League) for a large chunk of 2010, has 62 runs batted in for his 59 appearances (one behind Pacific Coast League leader Anthony Rizzo of Tucson (San Diego) and is the league leader in homers, total bases (164) and slugging percentage (.739) while hitting .356.

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Smith’s Debut in Yankees System a Success

With the New York Yankees constantly shuffling pitchers between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA and the Bronx because of injuries, the first appearance in Triple-A by former major leaguer Greg Smith after leaving Grand Prairie, TX (American Association) was one to watch.

The 27-year-old southpaw did not disappoint.  He was called on to hold a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning at Syracuse (Toronto) this week, and got the next five outs while only allowing one walk and striking out two.  The closer got the final out.

Smith’s first taste of Independent Baseball was a good one for both sides.  He had a 3-1 record and 2.54 earned run average in six starts at Grand Prairie to help the AirHogs climb atop their division.  Smith said he “had some reservations about Independent Baseball (before reporting), but after playing in Grand Prairie those are no more—this league and team is as professional as it gets”.

(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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