Chronological Tour: Stop 196

Souping Up the Game

Walking in to Campbell’s Field, May-2001.

A unique section of grandstand, for private parties, nestles among the sky boxes.

The Ben Franklin Bridge dominates every view, and downtown Philadelphia is visible from some angles.

Quick Facts: Rating: 4 baseballs
Camden, a fading industrial city on the Delaware River, was developed mainly because it was directly across from Philadelphia. A fellow named William Cooper started a ferry between the cities in the 18th century. Ironically, Cooper has in his family tree the author James Fenimore Cooper, whose close family had the village of Cooperstown, N.Y., named for it. That village, of course, is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The new ballpark in Camden celebrates none of that history. However, the easiest approach to it is via Cooper Street, and every seat in the park has a dramatic view of the Ben Franklin Bridge, a grand structure that helped put the ferries out of business. This view – which also includes downtown Philadelphia from the extreme end of the grandstand in right field (that’s all they could do owing to the necessity of avoiding sun glare problems for the batters) – is the best feature of an otherwise copycat park that succeeds in being a pleasant place to watch a game.

Campbell’s Field – named for the flagship brand of the Campbell Soup Company, a longtime Camden industry – shares some design features with the nicer 1990s minor-league parks in the state, such as Trenton, Atlantic City, and Somerset. Seating is in a split lower level, with a concourse halfway down the seating bowl dividing “lower boxes” from “upper boxes”. As with most of these parks, they aren’t truly box seats, but glorified field-level reserved seats. An interesting touch is that the upper deck, which is generally sky boxes, includes two small grandstand areas for larger parties.

Concessions were reasonably priced, but originally the ticket pricing was very affordable. That changed, but it was possible to gain a $2 discount on $14 and $13 tickets by purchasing in advance. Parking, originally $2, shot up to $6 by 2014, and it was collected by the city, not the team, which had no control and was not permitted to reduce the fee as an incentive (or so a team official told me).

Mounting attendance woes and failure to market the team well after its original owner, Steve Shilling, died in 2003 eventually led the Riversharks to fold after the 2015 season. The New Britain (Conn.) Bees replaced the Riversharks in the Atlantic League roster, playing at just-vacated New Britain Stadium. The baseball team from the nearby campus of Rutgers University will continue to use the park for the foreseeable future.

Game # Date League Level Result
458 Sun 13-May-2001 Atlantic Ind. CAMDEN 4, Lehigh Valley 3
507 Fri 7-Sep-2001 Atlantic Ind. CAMDEN 14, Somerset 5
566 Fri 6-Sep-2002 Atlantic Ind. CAMDEN 5, Long Island 1
601 Fri 25-Jul-2003 Atlantic Ind. CAMDEN 13, Nashua 0
652 Wed 17-Sep-2003 Atlantic Ind. Somerset 3, CAMDEN 0
707 Tue 24-Aug-2004 Atlantic Ind. CAMDEN 14, Newark 5
731 Sun 26-Sep-2004 Atlantic Ind. Long Island 4, CAMDEN 3
777 Wed 24-Aug-2005 Atlantic Ind. CAMDEN 11, Newark 3
856 Sat 16-Sep-2006 Atlantic Ind. Road Warriors 2, CAMDEN 1
866 Tue 3-Jul-2007 Atlantic Ind. CAMDEN 3, Road Warriors 1
976 Wed 17-Sep-2008 Atlantic Ind. CAMDEN 9, Long Island 1
1034 Mon 7-Sep-2009 Atlantic Ind. York 4, CAMDEN 2
1076 Sun 15-Aug-2010 Atlantic Ind. Bridgeport 9, CAMDEN 1
1169 Fri 9-Sep-2011 Atlantic Ind. York 5, CAMDEN 4
1222 Wed 22-Aug-2012 Atlantic Ind. Somerset 6, CAMDEN 4
1290 Wed 4-Sep-2013 Atlantic Ind. CAMDEN 3, York 2
1327 Sat 2-Aug-2014 Atlantic Ind. Somerset 7, CAMDEN 6, 1st
1403 Thu 13-Aug-2015 Atlantic Ind. Somerset 8, CAMDEN 4

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