Music - The captain and me by the Doobie Brothers
Sam Lynn Ballpark - Opened 1941 and still in use. 2013 is supposed to be the last season for the Blaze at Sam Lynn. A new privately funded ballpark is going to be built on the west side of Bakersfield.
Location - 4009 Chester Avenue Bakersfield, California.
As a charter member of the Cal League, Bakersfield has had a long history of sending baseball players to the majors. That being said, it is the quirkiest ballpark in baseball. Sam Lynn is one of only two ballparks where the batter faces west. Early evening games are horrible on batters. No one knows why the park was constructed like that. The other park with a west facing batter is Wahconah Park in Pittsfield Massachusetts.
Sam Lynn is the oldest park in the Cal league. Age is showing. WIth all the newer parks in the Cal, talk has been going on for a few years about a new facility. And YES Bakersfield needs one. There is talk of a dual tenant park, much like in San Bernardino where the Inland Empire 66ers share San Manuel Stadium with Cal. State San Bernardino. A dual tenant would include the Bakersfield Blaze and Cal State Bakersfield.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had the longest agreement with Bakersfield. Players like Pedro Martinez, Eric Karros, Mike Piazza and hall of famer Don Drysdale played for Bakersfield. Due to the condition of Sam Lynn, the Dodgers discontinued their association in 1994. The Blaze now has a working agreement with the Cincinnati Reds.
Sam Lynn featured a covered wooden grandstand. Due to deterioration, the grandstand was demolished in 1993 and a concrete main grandstand was installed. Another freaky part of the part is centerfield. It is only 354 feet from home plate and is the shortest in all of professional baseball. The dugouts are well, not great even though the first base home dugout has been expanded. The third base dugout had its roof blown off during a game due to heavy winds. For all the negatives, the groundskeeper was given an award as one of the top minor league grounds keepers. That was in 2006. Before the "renovations" they had portraits of Drysdale, Karros, Martinez, Piazza and Rocco Balldelli on back of the main grandstand. After the so called reno, Balldelli's was the only portrait to survive.
For all its negatives, and there are a lot, it still is baseball. Lets hope that the city of Bakersfield builds a state of the art park in the near future.