On Monday, the San Rafael City Council will likely vote on a measure to bring professional baseball to Marin county.
If the council approves Centerfield Partners LLC's proposal, a new team would take at the field at San Rafael's Albert Park starting next May. The contract currently under consideration would give the team access to the field for up to 45 homes games per season.
The team would be part of the North American League, an independent baseball league unconnected to any MLB franchise or their attendant minor league teams. The North American League sprung from a union of three "outlaw leagues": Illinois's Northern League, Texas's United Baseball League and the Golden Baseball League, which is based in the western U.S. and Canada.
The San Rafael team would join ten others located across the country and in Canada. The only other California team is the Chico Outlaws.
Ticket prices are expected to fall somewhere in the $6 to $15 range.
Under the proposal, the ballpark's 750-seat grandstand would expand to 1,500 seats. Seating also would be added to the first and third base sides of the field behind existing netting and on the field past the end of the dugouts with fencing or netting to protect fans and players.
Centerfield Partners also wants to provide a mobile concession stand and several barbecue stands. Currently, there is no concession stand at the field.
The San Rafael's Park and Recreation Commission approved the plan earlier this year. "I see a lot of benefits to the city from this proposal," said commission chairman Ralph Mihan. "It's going to increase the commerce downtown...[and] be an affordable event for families."
Despite the commission giving the plan its unanimous approval, the idea of bringing professional baseball to Albert Park hasn't been met with universal praise. The Marin IJ reports:
Some Gerstle Park residents say they're worried about noise, traffic, parking and crime, and have hired attorney Nick Rossi to represent them. Last month the commission put off making a recommendation on the proposal, instead asking city employees to evaluate several potential legal issues that Rossi raised about the plan's impacts on existing laws, including the noise ordinance, as well as planning and environmental documents.
Albert Park has been the site of high school, college, youth and adult league baseball games for well over half a century; however, this would be the first time for the park to play host to a professional baseball club.