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Wahconah Park Updates


July 5, 2004 - Berkshire Eagle Editorial: Bouton is still rewriting history
The story in Friday's Eagle by Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, a story marred by a number of factual errors, did at least reveal clearly that Jim Bouton's instinct for self-pity and tendency to fictionalize history is still intact. In spite of his claims to the contrary, Mr. Bouton was treated fairly by all parties in his initial bid to bring a professional baseball team to Wahconah Park, which is more than can be said for those, including many city businesses, cruelly slandered in "Foul Ball." While Mr. Bouton continues to criticize the new stadium effort, it should be noted that if the stadium had been built, Pittsfield would have pro baseball this summer, which it lacks for the first time in two decades. What Mr. Bouton never mentions to gullible interrogators is that he and partner "Chip" Elitzer never had a baseball team to bring to Wahconah Park in the first place. And they still don't.

July 5, 2004 - Berkshire Eagle column by Brian Sullivan: The park lives for one night >

July 4, 2004 - Vintage baseball played before 6,000 at Wahconah, Pastime as it was in past times by David Filkins, Special to the Albany Times Union >

July 4, 2004 - Eagle Front Page Photo >

July 3 - Souvenir Program - Vintage Base Ball game, Wahconah Park Times(pdf)>

July 2, 2004 A classic moment for Bouton By Tom Hoffarth, Los Angeles Daily News >


MAY 17, 2004 - The Pittsfield Hillies Vintage Game POSTER (PDF) >

May 13, 2004 - Herald Tribune: Baseball discovers its "Garden of Eden" (PDF) >

May 12, 2004 - Berkshire Eagle: Joy in Mudville! (PDF) >

March 17, 2004 - Berkshire Eagle Editorial: Challenges for Bouton group
The $1.5 million that Jim Bouton and his partners plan to put into Wahconah Park will definitely make the aging ballpark a much better place, and what's not to like about Mr. Bouton's promise to do away with the blaring music that corrupts the baseball experience at ballparks around the country? The group has some major challenges ahead of it, however, before it fields a team in 2005. No amount of renovations will bring the ballpark up to the standards of affiliated baseball, which means the group will have to bring in an independent team -- assuming the group can get a team, which it couldn't do three years ago. The bottom of the barrel baseball played by the Berkshire Black Bears was rejected by knowledgeable fans, who stayed away in droves the past two summers, and more of the same will be a tough sell, regardless of how nice the food court is. To make his team a success, Mr. Bouton is going to need the support of the business community he unfairly trashed, most notably Berkshire Bank and GE Plastics, as corrupt and dishonest in "Foul Ball." Mr. Bouton had better hope the business community is more charitable to him than he was to them.

March 16, 2004 - Berkshire Eagle: Partnership outlines park plans >

March 9, 2004 - Berkshire Eagle: Bouton's group to invest $1.5M in Wahconah Park >

February 24, 2004 - Berkshire Eagle column by David Scribner
Why would the South County trio of Jim Bouton, Chip Elitzer and Eric Margeneau invest $1 million in Wahconah Park, a baseball field they don't own? What's in it for them? Could it be they're expecting to make back their money with naming rights?

Note: Section 5.6 of proposed license agreement negotiated between Bouton group and the City of Pittsfield: "Park Name. Neither the Club nor the City shall rename the Park during the Term of this License."

Hypocrisy index: The Berkshire Eagle still has not disclosed to its readers that Dean Singleton, owner of Eagle parent MediaNews Group, had a secret deal to own naming rights to the proposed new stadium in Pittsfield - rights worth far in excess of the Eagle's so-called "donation" of $2 million.

Jan 20, 2004 - See Jim's response to Mayor Ruberto >

Jan 18, 2004 - Berkshire Eagle editorial
...Ruberto’s Invitation to Play Ball - The Bouton group failed to land a team to play here before and there is no indication it can land a team to play here now, and it remains to be seen if the partners would come up with the considerable money needed up front to put Wahconah Park in some semblance of reasonable shape. The mayor, however, has given the partners a chance to put up or shut up. We'll see which option they choose.

Jan 13, 2004 - See invitation from Mayor Ruberto >

Jan 11, 2004 - Berkshire Eagle editorial
Out at Home - Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto’s heart is in the right place when it comes to the future, if any, of professional baseball at Wahconah Park but he isn’t being realistic. It is difficult to imagine why anyone would invest $1 or $1.5 million in an aging ballpark that is beyond hope of reclamation...

Nov 26, 2003 - Berkshire Eagle editorial
Goodbye to the Black Bears - The departure of the Berkshire Black Bears from Pittsfield, an open secret for weeks,is now official. There is no denying that the Black Bears’ tenure in the city coincided with a particularly ugly stretch of politics but owner Jonathan Fleisig’s criticism of “certain civic leaders” for undermining him is disingenuous--Mr. Fleisig was hardly an effective salesman of his team. The loss of the Black Bears almost assuredly marks the end of Pittsfield’s proud history in professional baseball, a day that became inevitable with the defeat of a proposal for a new ballpark. Native son Larry Bossidy’s purchase of a New York-Penn League team was derailed and the city had to settle for the Independent Northeast League, a bottom-level league that was never accepted by the city’s knowledgeable baseball fans. Today, the Northeast League has bailed out of the city, two of the City Council’s Three Amigos who lead the fight against the new ballpark proposal have been belatedly retired by voters, and crumbling Wahconah Park looks forward to a lonely old age.


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