Published DateLACONIA — The large deck planned for behind the left field wall of Robbie Mills Field has been put on hold for a year as the Laconia Muskrats continue to seek a corporate sponsor to defray the cost of that project. Instead, said Noah Crane, general manager of the local New England Collegiate Baseball League team, the Muskrats will seek approval from the city to build a smaller deck out along the left field line for this season, which will allow the sale of beer at games.
The originally planned deck, which Crane now hopes to have in place for the 2014 season, would have been built behind the top fo the left-field wall that was built in homage to the famed Green Monster at Fenway Park. The deck, in addition to providing a unique vantage point, would have also been a place where the team could sell beer. Crane has said in the past that offering beer would both draw more fans to the game and provide an additional revenue source to bolster the team's sustainability.
The team received a bid of about $50,000 to build the deck, said Crane, and sought a corporate sponsor willing to purchase the naming rights for about half the construction cost. With June 6 opening day approaching, the naming rights have yet to be spoken for. Crane said the total cost of construction is too much for the Muskrats to take on alone, so plans for the deck have been moved to the back burner while an alternative plan has been developed.
Should Crane receive approval from the city's Parks & Recreation Commission, the Muskrats would like to construct a smaller deck, one measuring 16 feet wide by 50 feet long, along the third base line. Crane said the deck would be enclosed with a railing and would be build atop a portion of the paved surface that is currently reserved for bus parking.
"No buses ever park there because they'd get hit by foul balls all the time," he said.
Plans call for the deck, which would be slightly elevated above the pavement, to be placed just beyond the bleachers on the visitors' side.
If the Parks Commission agrees to the plan, Crane said work would begin as soon as possible, although he doubts it would be built in time for opening day on Thursday, June 6. Once it is open, he said baseball fans will be able to purchase a glass of beer to enjoy as they take in the game. He expected the deck to have a capacity of about 50 to 60 people, depending on how many tables and other furniture the team decides to place on it.