Baseball finds a new home

by Beacon Staff • April 2, 2008

Emerson's baseball team has only played one game this season at Sartori Stadium, the newly-renovated field in East Boston scheduled to be the home park for the Lions. Last Saturday's game against Daniel Webster College was postponed when the lights malfunctioned and the team is anxious to get on the new turf field.

"The field is beautiful and close to the college," said David Hanley, the baseball coach at Emerson. "The field is equipped with drains and allows us to play games that many other New England colleges couldn't because of the weather."

Sartori Stadium, also known as East Boston Stadium, was completed over a year and half ago after renovations updated the football and baseball field with turf and added a cricket pitch, parking areas and a running track. The area is owned by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, and according to the city of Boston Web site, about $1 million was invested in the project.

"We probably couldn't have a better situation without having a home field," said Roger Crosley, the coordinator of athletic operations at Emerson. "We will hopefully continue to use that as it is on the T and has a good surface to play on."

The stadium is off the Blue Line of the MBTA at the Airport station, and is approximately a 10-minute drive from campus.

Emerson applied for a permit earlier this year and requested dates and times for scheduled home games. Permits are free of charge, but the college is expected to pay $50 an hour for the cost of operating the lights during night games.

"It is great to play on a turf field in the Northeast," said Kent Anderson, a senior print journalism major and one of the tri-captains of the baseball team. "Almost always the other fields are in bad shape because the city takes little care of them."

Hanley said the team is not having difficulties adjusting to the turf field.

"The ground balls just move faster on the turf," he said. "There are no bad bounces or cleet marks and the ball moves quickly through the outfield."

At last Sunday's home game against Rivier College, the Lions experienced some unexpected distractions on the field.

"There were some kids playing soccer in the outfield that interfered with the game a bit," said Anderson. "At one point one of them picked up the ball and threw it at the outfielder on the other team."

Crosley said that sometimes people do not always abide by the field's previously reserved time slots.

"The Park and Recreations Department told us to either bring one of our police officers or call the Boston City Police if people don't leave the field when a game starts," he said. "The Park and Recreations Department is going to try and deal with that in the future."

In previous years, Emerson has used Adam's Field in Quincy, MIT's baseball diamond and other stadiums in Danvers and South Boston for home games. Hanley, who has been the team's coach since 2005, said he doesn't believe Emerson will ever acquire a baseball stadium.

"Baseball fields are a huge expense and require about an acre of land," he said. "It would be great to have a field, but this is Boston and land is expensive."

Crosley said the park offered the best option for the Lions when they were considering possible places to call home.

"The field is perfect; it is accessible by T for the fans and players and is brand new," said Crosley. "It was our first choice for the season and is the perfect place to play."