For the fans, there’s the new scoreboard in right field, an addition club officials have considered badly-needed for the past several seasons.
For players, there’s the covered batting cage pavilion down the right-field line, one that’s seen plenty of use after Friday’s delayed home opener and Saturday’s rainout.
In addition to improving the look of the place, they’re an indication of the club’s commitment to the city, said Gabe Sinicropi, Cutters vice president of marketing and public relations.
“When we build a new batting tunnel,” Sinicropi said. “When we get a new scoreboard, it certainly shows that we’re in it for the long haul, and that we’re not looking for some greener pastures somewhere else. This is where we want to be.”
The scoreboard, a $300,000 project funded by the City of Williamsport and a state grant, replaced the previous one, installed in 1987 after being trucked down from War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y.
The old scoreboard had an interesting backstory — it was covered with 1930s era ads when the film The Natural was filmed in the early 1980s. But it was also missing numerous light bulbs, and the ones that worked were often dull and hard to discern from the infield grandstand.
Team president Paul Velte said he worked with City officials for about five years as they developed a plan to secure funding for the new scoreboard.
Sinicropi added that, by far, it was the most needed change this off-season.
“We already had a logo,” Sinicropi said. “I don’t want to say we didn’t have a scoreboard, but you know what I mean.”
The batting tunnel in right is supported by padded pillars, and covered by a wooden, shingled canopy that blends with Bowman’s overall décor.
It’s a fairly different look from the one the metal one the Phillies saw erected at Batavia, their previous New York-Penn League affiliate.
“We wanted to make sure that cage fit well with the feel of the ballpark,” Velte said. “If we put a steel roll bar out there, it wouldn’t fit in. So we wanted to keep it with the rustic look to match the look of historic Bowman Field.”
Velte said the possibility exists to build a smaller, more up-scale party deck to complement the larger deck beyond foul territory in left field.
Also possible is the replacement of box seats and perhaps the addition of a couple rows, which might eliminate a few feet of Bowman’s spacious foul territory.
It’s not clear whether it would replace the bleacher seats in right field, or be built overtop or beneath them, Velte said.
“We want to try to make Bowman Field the best it can be while working with this historic framework that we have,” Sinicropi said. “That’s on our radar, and we really want to try to figure out a way to do it. We have to be real creative with that, as with everything else that we do, within the confines of this small area. But it’s definitely on our radar.”
Cutters fans saw their first glimpse of the new Bowman Field scoreboard Friday night during the home opener against Jamestown.