Chronological Tour: Stop 131

The Sandcastle

Exterior of The Sandcastle, from the west, Jul-1998.

In addition to a section number, each seating section was named after one of the properties on the Monopoly® board.

From home plate, one looks out across Bader Field, the old airport, to the hotel and casino skyline of Atlantic City.

Quick Facts: Rating: 4 baseballs
For years, Atlantic City has suffered from a horrible self-image. The run-down shore resort got casino gambling thanks to a New Jersey state referendum in 1976, and the skyline changed dramatically, but little impact was felt more than a block away from the Boardwalk in this city of 38,000.

In recent years, though, the city got a new high school and athletic complex thanks to an influx of funds from the Casino Redevelopment Agency. Then in 1998, next to the old schools stadium and a private airstrip that used to be the city’s airport, The Sandcastle rose out of nowhere along the old Black Horse Pike that connected the resort with Philadelphia, 65 miles to the northwest. The same agency committed funds to the project.

With the public address announcer telling the fans “Surf’s up!” whenever they came to bat, the Atlantic City Surf became one of the charter franchises of the independent Atlantic League. Fans were treated to a pristine facility with excellent seating capacity and a gorgeous view of the casino hotels that line the Boardwalk.

Sadly, the people of Atlantic City and surrounding towns, both on and off this barrier island, never truly warmed to the concept of professional baseball in their midst. And casino goers never really saw fit to take time out from their palaces of flashing light to venture a distance off the beaten path for a different form of entertainment. The Surf won the Atlantic League title, yet averaged barely 40 percent of capacity their first season and went downhill from there.

During 2006, the Surf announced that the ballpark was now sponsored by jeweler Bernie Robbins. At season’s end, the Surf shifted leagues and joined the Can-Am League, with a later start and a shorter season. But even that wasn’t enough to save the Surf. They shut down after the 2008 season, and with no buyer coming to the rescue in the economic malaise of the day, the Sandcastle went dark for 2009.

Game # Date League Level Result
306 Sat 4-Jul-1998 Atlantic Ind. ATLANTIC CITY 10, Nashua 7
307 Sun 5-Jul-1998 Atlantic Ind. Nashua 7, ATLANTIC CITY 3
311 Sun 12-Jul-1998 Atlantic Ind. ATLANTIC CITY 5, Somerset 4, 11 inn
406 Mon 3-Jul-2000 Atlantic Ind. Nashua 9, ATLANTIC CITY 5
575 Tue 17-Sep-2002 Atlantic Ind. Newark 5, ATLANTIC CITY 4
620 Thu 14-Aug-2003 Atlantic Ind. Somerset 2, ATLANTIC CITY 1
673 Mon 19-Jul-2004 Atlantic Ind. ATLANTIC CITY 10, Newark 7
800 Tue 27-Sep-2005 Atlantic Ind. Somerset 5, ATLANTIC CITY 2
814 Sun 2-Jul-2006 Atlantic Ind. Bridgeport 10, ATLANTIC CITY 1
868 Wed 4-Jul-2007 Can-Am Ind. NJ Jackals 6, ATLANTIC CITY 4
926 Sat 5-Jul-2008 Can-Am Ind. ATLANTIC CITY 6, NJ Jackals 5
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This page updated 12-Aug-2009