A group of enthusiastic baseball supporters is looking to bring back what once was one of the most popular places to go in Shreveport: Fair Grounds Field.
It was once the center of activity for baseball fans throughout the Ark-La-Tex.
For more than two decades, the baseball stadium was the home of the Shreveport Captains, a minor league professional baseball team in the Texas League, and a “farm team” for the San Francisco Giants.
They even won the Minor League Title three times: 1990, 1991, and 1995.
On game nights or afternoons, the stadium was a field of dreams for boys who dreamed of baseball careers, as well as lifelong followers of the sport who knew they’d see future Major League Baseball stars at the beginning of their careers. Parents and kids, couples on dates, church and school groups, and folks who just enjoyed the camaraderie of an enthusiastic crowd filled the stands. There was a beer garden that became the hangout for the ‘Bull Durham’ crowd and a press box for local and visiting sports writers.
After the original Captains were sold to a new owner and moved to Lorado, Texas in 2000, other teams tried, but it just wasn’t the same. Attendance fell off and Fair Grounds Field fell further and further into disrepair. And then the bats came. Attempts were made to get rid of them, but the bats always seemed to win. Eventually, the stadium fell into disrepair and was condemned.
Enter Play Ball Shreveport, a group of people who still see Fair Grounds Field as their field of dreams.
In Tuesday’s Shreveport City Council meeting, Shayne Sharkley of Play Ball Shreveport gave a presentation on the group’s vision in hopes the City Council will reward this group of dreamers with a lease.
Sharkey said the group plans to turn the stadium around and into a multi-sport complex, and make it available for colleges, high schools, and tournaments.
The estimated cost is around $27 million.
Funding sources will come from individual donor campaign, corporate investments, advertising revenue, and non-profit grants, Sharky said.
According to his report, more than 15 surrounding businesses support his group’s dream.
The city council, some of whom spent many lazy Sunday afternoons at Fair Grounds Field, liked the idea and promised to consider giving it a chance.