BELOIT - If members of the Beloit Professional Baseball Association ever wonder if they're on the right track pursuing a new downtown stadium they only need to re-watch their own video.
The BPBA, which operates the Beloit Snappers, recently produced a video that shows the potential the city has to build a new stadium that will both enhance the community and ensure the survival of the franchise here.
The video examines Beloit through the eyes of a peer minor league city in Midland, Mich. Home to 40,000 residents, Midland was able to attract a Midwest League baseball team in 2006 after investors built a stadium that drew the attention and eventual affiliation of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The stadium for the Great Lakes Loons also served as an anchor for an impressive downtown riverfront revitalization in Midland.
The video (link:http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1826682783&topic_id=&sid=t554&tcid=vpp_copy_1826682783&v=3) features Midland baseball executives drawing parallels between their stadium experience and Beloit's potential. It was produced after a number of Beloit baseball and business leaders visited Midland in June for a research tour of the stadium and city. The tour was arranged by Midland Loons President Paul Barbeau, who came to Beloit and gave presentations to team management and business leaders earlier in the season.
The message struck home with BPBA Vice President and Stadium Committee Chairman Jim Agate.
"What I really took note of is the fact that there are opportunities for so many things to happen there," said Agate, who co-owns Culvers in Beloit,.
Agate noted the range of amenities and offerings at the stadium are appealing to a wide audience. He also took note of the businesses that had sprung up around the stadium and were thriving.
The Snappers hope community members viewing the video will regain their enthusiasm for the team in the same way the original stakeholders were when they first brought baseball to Beloit.
"Sometimes, it helps to see something through the eyes of other people," Agate said. "The genuine enthusiasm that the Midland folks have for Beloit and the possibility for the team and community is contagious."
- By Jim Franz, Sports Editor