Las Vegas Lights FC will be Cashman Field’s only tenant in 2019
If you take a look at Cashman Field, the ballpark where Las Vegas Lights FC is set to play in the 2018 USL season, you may notice that it’s rather square. If you have never done such a thing, here’s a visual aid, consisting of a satellite image of Cashman Field from Google Maps. To illustrate just how square this ballpark is, I’ve drawn a 375-foot square with rounded corners, which is colored lime green in this image:
I hope I’m getting this point across. This is an incredibly quadrilateral ballpark. Significantly more square-shaped than the other ballparks occupied by USL teams. It’s an oddity amongst ballparks.
And soon, it won’t be used for baseball anymore. The Triple-A Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League are set to move to a new ballpark in nearby Summerlin.
This means that the only full-time tenant of this stadium will be the soccer team.
So, what do I think they need to do at the end of 2018? Reconfigure the ballpark into a neat, unique soccer stadium!
For some inspiration, look no further than Al Lang Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
That stadium was built for baseball back in 1947, and renovated in the same configuration in 1976. The ballpark continued to be used for spring training baseball through 2008, and for other local baseball teams until 2014.
At that time, it looked like this:
Not a bad looking ballpark! But hardly ideal for soccer. So, in 2015, the Tampa Bay Rowdies reconfigured it to work better as a soccer stadium, and ended up with something unique and wonderful!
Isn’t that neat as hell? I think it’s neat as hell. And in this case, I’m correct. It’s neat as hell.
But they’re not finished yet! Tampa Bay put in a bid to join MLS, which includes expanding this stadium even further, to a whopping 18,000 seats, with this weird asymmetrical design that I absolutely love:
This is one of the best stadium designs I’ve ever seen. It’s a modern take on the traditional stadiums built by filling in as much of the available space as possible, and it’s exactly what the next iteration of a stadium build in the 1940s should be. It still has that baseball feeling to it in the center of both stands, and that’s just wonderful.
And so, I propose that the Las Vegas Lights should do the following to Cashman Field after the 51s move out next year: Knock out the right field walls, add some stands, and turn it into a U-shaped grandstand that wraps around the soccer field. It should end up looking something like this:
This allows the team to fit a fully FIFA-compliant 110×80 yard field inside of the stadium, and increases the capacity roughly 64% from 9,334 to somewhere around 14,500. If the team is able to fill the stands during their inaugural season, and become the latest USL success story, I really think they should consider this. Baseball stadiums are almost uniquely American, and repurposing them for soccer leads to some really interesting and distinct stadiums.
I mean, Providence Park in Portland was configured with baseball in mind for literally decades. Check it out:
“OK, John, but shouldn’t you be working on Project 50/50?”
Yes! And I am! I have chapters two and three nearing completion! The first of those will be up at some point in the next 48 hours or so. But since that project takes so much time just researching everything, I figured I’d throw something neat together today.
So, yeah! You heard it here first! The Las Vegas Lights should make that ballpark their permanent home once the 51s move out. Why not?
Follow John on Twitter: @JohnMLTX.
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