West Warwick, RI
Review by Gary
Located in the bend of the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick, RI lies McCarthy Field, a glorified high school field that was once home to the 1996 Rhode Island Tiger Sharks of the Independent Northeast League, now known as the Can-Am League.
The Tiger Sharks lasted just one season and were followed at McCarthy Field by several New England Collegiate Baseball League teams. The Rhode Island Reds (1996-1999) and Rhode Island Gulls (2001-2004) took up residency here before each moved elsewhere to greener diamonds. Today, McCarthy plays host to high school, amateur and small college competitions.
The stadium is more suited to a softball league, as its left and right field lines are only about 300 feet from home plate with dead center field at just 366 feet. An interesting local feature is that the entrance is situated next to the city’s animal control center.
Blue covered aluminum bleachers are behind home plate with a press box above them while a set of the similar grandstands run along each baseline. The entirety of these grandstands is protected by chain link fencing which makes it feel more like you’re watching a prison team. One half expects to see guards perched atop the press box.
This very nondescript ballpark was not suited minor-league baseball in West Warwick as the Tiger Sharks’ inaugural season drew only about 200 fans per game. The team was shut down and moved to Allentown, PA in 1997 to become the Ambassadors who played at their new stadium called Bicentennial Park. Apparently, the same fate occurred for both NECBL teams that played here long ago as they both relocated elsewhere in New England.