Marlins affiliate shows off new home in Beloit

August 2nd, 2021

For nearly 40 years, the Beloit Snappers have called Pohlman Field home. That changes on Tuesday night, when the Marlins' High-A affiliate hosts the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at ABC Supply Stadium.

In 2019, when there was talk that the number of Minor League teams would be trimmed, in particular for those without facilities meeting modernized standards and improved amenities, a group from Beloit sprung into action.

"Knowing we were one of the smallest teams, we didn’t think we were going to make the cut," said Diane Hendricks, the chief financer of the stadium who owns the construction company that also sponsored the naming rights. "That’s when we had to face reality. ‘Are we going to let the Snappers go away? Or are we going to step up the game? We’re going to have to design a new stadium if we want to keep the Snappers here.'"

So Hendricks and club owner Quint Studer went to New York to meet with MLB officials. They shared architectural blueprints for a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose facility in downtown Beloit, Wis., along the Rock River. The $37 million ballpark, which has a 3,500 gameday capacity, is privately funded and took 13 months of construction. The all-brick -- 250,000 bricks to be exact -- venue will serve a city with nearly 37,000 residents.

"[This shows] what a stadium in the right location, the right size, can mean to a community, because it's really about improving the quality of life; that's our whole mission statement," Studer said. "I think if you do things right in the stadium, I think that's a shot in the arm for any community to feel the accomplishment of having something pretty neat in their community. I know in Pensacola -- and I think it'll be here in Beloit -- people will almost say, 'Let me show you the stadium.' I think there's that community pride. I've always thought baseball's a melting pot [with] the ability to bring a diverse group of people together. A ballpark needs to be a neighborhood."

Studer, who also owns the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos, said ABC Supply Stadium embraces the industrial town by "not just reclaiming the past but taking a brick look into the future." It was built 100 percent in compliance with new Major League/Minor League Professional Development License facility guidelines and requirements.

Team amenities include the following:

• 1,245-square-foot home clubhouse, with 575-square-foot player lounge
• Pregame and postgame player meals provided by team executive chef
• 750-square-foot weight room
• 2,500-plus-square-foot batting cage on both home and road sides, each with a pitching mound
• Video analysis room in home batting cage, with three work stations
• Separate manager and coaches offices, with private bathrooms, lockers and showers
• 426-square-foot trainer's room in home clubhouse; 326-square-foot one in visitor's
• Umpire's locker room
• Women's locker room
• 90x14 foot dugouts

The on-field dimensions are 345 feet down the line in left, 400 in center and 325 in right, with an artificial turf playing surface.

"The field is top notch," outfielder Thomas Jones said. "To come home to a nice clubhouse, a nice field, shoot, there's no need but to play the best. I feel like we've got the best stadium in the league. It's beautiful. They did a great job."

ABC Supply Stadium also features the following for fans:

• 360-degree walkable open concourse
• 40x40 high-definition video board
• Right-field party deck and outfield group areas
• Indoor suite level for year-round events
• Playground and games area for children
• New surface parking lots
• Center-field entrance facing downtown

In February, the Marlins and Snappers announced a 10-year professional development license agreement, which brings stability and security. At the park's opening event last Thursday, Beloit hosted a movie night. Fans were wearing Marlins caps in a Midwest community with a heavy Cubs, Brewers and White Sox presence.

"We've talked about every level having a first-class organization, first-class facilities, and then look at what we're building in the Dominican [Republic]," Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said. "We're hoping to make some improvements in [Low-A] Jupiter. We've got Pensacola, you've got [Triple-A] Jacksonville, you've got Beloit now with a brand new stadium. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it [for the opening]. I'll be here. But our players in our organization are pretty spoiled the way I look at it in terms of the facilities they get a chance to play in, and we couldn't be happier to be partnering with them."