Scrappers, Cafaro Company announce 15-year lease at Eastwood Field
Eastwood to remain
home through 2033
By Steve Ruman
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are here to stay.
Such was the message presented by the Scrappers front office Thursday when the team held a morning press conference at the Eastwood Mall complex.
The Scrappers announced a 15-year lease extension agreement with the Cafaro Company which will keep minor league baseball at the Niles-based Eastwood Field facility through 2033.
The Scrappers, a Class A short-season affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, have called Eastwood Field their home since 1999. The franchise also recently signed a two-year extension with the Indians.
“This is a really big deal, this comes thanks to a true partnership with the Cafaro family and the Cafaro company,” said Scrappers general manager Jordan Taylor. “They had the vision to bring minor league baseball to our area 20 years ago, and since then millions of people have come through our gates.
“The Valley has done a great job of supporting the Scrappers. We’re excited about the opportunity to be able to continue to provide quality baseball and entertainment for years to come.”
Taylor noted that in addition to 38 home Scrappers games per season, Eastwood Field also serves as the home field for the Youngstown State University and Eastern Gateway Community College baseball teams. The stadium also plays host to numerous high school baseball games each spring.
In all, Eastwood Field hosts over 200 events per year.
“While baseball is front and center, this is a facility that can be utilized in many ways. It really caters to our entire community,” Taylor said.
In addition to the lease extension, Taylor unveiled several stadium upgrades which will be completed prior to the Scrappers’ home opener. Most notably, the stadium will be equipped with a new 27-foot by 24-foot video board which is four times larger than the current board. The new video board also has eight times more pixels along with LED illumination, providing brightness that will not be impacted by the sun.
“This is something that the fans will notice as soon as they walk into the stadium,” Taylor said. “This will greatly enhance the game experience. And, with it we will be able to host additional events such as movie nights.”
A complete overhaul of the sound system will allow for a powerful, clear 360-degree sound experience. The stadium will also undergo changes in the concessions, with digital menu boards, added menu items and speedier service.
An overhaul of the production room will allow the Scrappers to video stream all of their home games on the MiLB television network.
“We’re one of the few short-season franchises with this capability, so we’re pretty excited to provide this service,” Taylor said.
Other plans are already being made for beyond the 2018 season. Among them, the entire playing surface at Eastwood Field will be replaced next September. Also, the clubhouse will receive a facelift which will include a new weight room and an added “common area” for players.
“This will be the second time since 1999 that the field has been replaced,” Taylor said. “As for the clubhouse, our rosters keep expanding, and we just needed to upgrade and update what we already have.”
Niles service director Ed Streadney said that Thursday’s announcements “were great news for our city and for the Mahoning Valley in general.” He said that Eastwood Field has provided a financial boost to Niles.
“Every summer, we have hundreds of thousands of visitors come through the 422 area,” Streadney said. “It really provides a positive impact for the surrounding businesses, the hotels, the restaurants and such. And beyond that, it’s a quality of life issue. Having a Cleveland Indians affiliate in our hometown is something we can all take great pride in.”
The Scrappers open their 20th season June 15 with a home game against West Virginia.