The Amarillo Thunderheads of the American Association have gone through a few changes this winter as a franchise. They changed their team name from the Sox to the Thunderheads earlier this off-season and now they plan on giving their ballpark a bit of a facelift, according to Drew Powell of ConnectAmarillo.com.
Potter County Memorial Stadium has been around for over six decades and hasn’t been renovated in over nine years. Back in 2005 — when the stadium was home to the Amarillo Dillas of United League Baseball — the stadium underwent major renovations to fix numerous seats in the stands that were broken, cracked or even stolen. The paint on the bleachers in the upper section was chipped, the grass was in bad shape and the playing field overall was in poor shape as well. Also, the wooden backstop behind home plate was rotting, and there were numerous holes in the netting.
Potter County Memorial Stadium used a less than impressive electronic scoreboard similar to the ones used in the early 1990s. The Dillas were forced to make do with the scoreboard until 2007 when they bought a smaller, standard scoreboard just displaying the score, inning, and strike-ball-out counts. Prior to the 2008 season, the scoreboard was made inoperable after a circuit board was stolen out of it. The manufacturer would not sell the Dillas a new one due to the fact the scoreboard had never been paid for. The lack of payment for the scoreboard was due to the bankruptcy of the ULB’s President Bradley Wendt.
Stephanie Tucker, Vice President and General Manager of the Amarillo Thunderheads has a master plan in the works to make the fan experience at Potter County Memorial Stadium more “21st century”. The plan calls to improve the playing field, the locker rooms, dugouts, concessions and other amenities throughout the stadium. Funding for the renovations will be covered by Tucker and plan to be done by March of next year.
Opening Day at Potter County Memorial Stadium is May 26 when the Thunderheads host the St. Paul Saints.
Anton Joe is an Independent League Baseball Reporter for Baseball Essential. You can follow him on Twitter @AntonJoe_BBE.