The Camden Riversharks Have Folded

The team could not reach an agreement on a new lease with the owner of Campbell's Field. They're expected to move to New Britain, Conn.

Campbell's Field (Photo | Jay Reed)

Campbell’s Field (Photo | Jay Reed)

The Camden Riversharks are ceasing operations immediately, per a statement from the team.

The Riversharks statement cited an inability to come to terms on a new lease with the Camden County Improvement Authority, which owns Campbell’s Field. Last month, a report said the Riversharks were likely to move to New Britain, Connecticut, to play in the stadium vacated when the Rockies’ AA team the Rock Cats became the Hartford Yard Goats.

“We don’t want to move. We want to stay in Camden, but it’s out of our hands,” Riversharks GM Lindsay Rosenberg told Philadelphia magazine at the time. “There are all these great things happening in Camden right now. All these companies are moving in. It’s only going to get better and better.”

The Riversharks won’t be a part of that, though. “We would like to thank our partners and fans for supporting the club for 15 memorable seasons,” the team said in a statement. “We did everything we could to keep affordable, family entertainment alive and well in Camden.”

Since a deal with Camden fell through, the Riversharks are now expected to move to New Britain and, presumably, change their name.

The Riversharks played in the Atlantic League, an independent baseball league that once also contained a team in Atlantic City. (The Surf and Riversharks once competed for an “Atlantic City Expressway” trophy that was displayed at the Frank S. Farley rest stop.) The league is in talks to expand from 8 teams to 12, but not in the immediate future.

Then New Jersey-Gov. Christine Todd Whitman broke ground on the 6,245-seat ballpark in 1999. She touted it as a “another step in giving this city, which has seen its share of tough times, a ‘second chance.'”

“These partners have heard the message from the movie Field of Dreams: ‘If you build it, they will come,'” Whitman said, making a reference that was then 10 years old. “Of course, that movie was about giving ballplayers a second chance of playing the game. Well, soon we will see a field of dreams right here in Camden, and my prediction is ‘they will come.'”

The Riversharks drew more than 200,000 fans this season. The Rutgers-Camden Scarlet Raptors baseball team also plays at Campbell’s Field.

As part of the wind-down of operations, the Riversharks will hold a final merchandise sale in Camden at Campbell’s Field from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

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