The Camden Riversharks (now the New Britain Bees) are long gone, leaving an abandoned stadium - a two-time winner of Baseball America's Ballpark of the Year - sitting right on the Delaware River in New Jersey. But such a praised facility in a waterfront location will not be empty for long, according to an article on MiLB.com.
However, because you can see Campbell's Field from Philadelphia, the Phillies will actually have the final say on the stadium's fate:
And as for Campbell Field? As soon as the demise of the Riversharks was announced, multiple outlets reported that a New York-Penn League (NYPL) franchise might be interested in relocating to the 15-year-old waterfront facility. The Philadelphia Phillies would have to sign off on such a move, since Camden falls within their territory.
Yes, in case you didn't know, MLB teams have carved this country into 30 different territories. Best determine under which team's rule you live so you know which mascot to expect at your door this winter, wearing a long robe and demanding tithe.
The Riversharks weren't an affiliate of the Phillies, though that sort of geographical convenience would have made for far simpler seasons for guys who spent the year trucking between the big club and AAA. Imagine if all the Phillies had to do to get Brian Bogusevic to Philadelphia was send a raft across the river. The whole season might have been different!
Though they never served as an official member of the Phillies family, the Riversharks were a cheaper, at times better, option to spectate, and in fact had former Phillies on the roster a few times, such as Wilson Valdez and Pedro Feliz and Delwyin Young. Their fate was a tragic lesson, learned over and over in the minors - you can't pay the rent with nostalgia.
Enter the Batavia Muckdogs! Batavia - who can trace their roots all the way back to 1887 - is the last original member of the New York/Penn league, a league in which the Phillies do have an affiliate, the Williamsport Crosscutters, whom you may remember from this past season, when they were awesome. But from 1988-2006, it was the Muckdogs with whom the Phillies were connected, logging a 756-756 record in that time. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Ryan Madson and Marlon Byrd have all worn Muckdog logos on their caps over the years. Ricky Williams even played for them in 13 games of the 1998 season before heading back to Texas to win the Heisman.
Those days are long over, and the Muckdogs now belong to the Marlins at the Short-Season A level. However, due to Batavia's low draw and red numbers in the ledger, they would apparently be the most rumored team to desire to make the move to Campbell's, should anyone decide to do so in 2017 (the earliest the move could be made). In regards to a Phillies team getting in there, Andy MacPhail has said that while it it's a nice idea, nothing will happen for a while.
The MiLB report cites a Philadelphia Business Journal article saying that Camden County is in talks with more than one "Major League Baseball-affiliated organization." But remember, that could mean baseball teams, or it could mean Match.com, who may be eyeing up the facility in hopes of fielding a team of players who pair up and fall in love, except for that poor, poor 25th guy.
The Phillies have one of the more fruitful farm systems in the league, so their relocation of a franchise has not been uttered as even a rumor just yet. Yet, it seems that if they can't use Campbell's Field, they also have the power to not let any other MLB affiliate use it, either.