Pulling for a home team

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Nothing brings together a community quite like baseball. Having grown up less than an hour’s drive from more than one minor league baseball stadium, I remember fondly evenings spent cheering on one team or another.

The prospect of a minor league team one day calling Farmville home is one I encourage gladly.

It is no secret that Longwood University has been planning a new baseball stadium on West Third Street as part of its Master Plan. The land has been purchased and local stakeholders have expressed approval.

It’s not a question of if, but when, and when Longwood builds it, they will come. They — the fans, with friends and children in tow — will come to the game and they will come to the restaurants downtown. Then, just maybe, long after the season has ended, they will come back to shop in those stores on Main Street they drove past to get to the field. They will return to hike the High Bridge Trail they glimpsed behind them while sitting on the bleachers cheering on their new favorite team.

It’s about more than just the sport. A hometown team brings with it economic benefits that far outweigh the potential negatives.

The upcoming completion of three new hotels in Farmville seems serendipitous with the need for rooms that would arise for visiting athletes and fans. Filled rooms at the hotels mean more than just revenue for the local lodging businesses. Farmville’s meals and sales tax would benefit from the increased number of guests, in return bringing funding right back into our community.

All the same, Longwood would benefit from the exposure brought by those visiting its stadium and driving past the school. Local fans would surely attend Lancer games during the off-season of the minor league team.

Guests to the town would bring home with them fond memories of Farmville, bringing us word-of-mouth exposure that can’t be bought.

Regardless of the score at the end of the game, a minor league team would be a home run for both Farmville and Longwood.

Carson Reeher is a staff writer for The Farmville Herald. Her email address is carson.reeher@farmvilleherald.com.