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A look to the future: Shorebirds stadium upgrades

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Arthur W. Perdue Stadium will look a little different when fans come to watch the Delmarva Shorebirds this season.

After a slow start to the 2017 season that saw the Shorebirds lose five of their first seven games, Thursday’s home opener against the Hagerstown Suns gives Delmarva a chance for a fresh start with a new look to the place the team calls home.

Brand new bucket seats in place of the previous metal benches, padded seating and an enormous video board that features replays, highlights, stats and fan participation were all part of the $4 million project to upgrade Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.

“It brings us into the 21st century of what fans expect when coming to a baseball game,” Shorebirds’ general manager Chris Bitters said. “These are exciting times for our organization.”

Wicomico County and Shorebirds’ officials gathered together Wednesday to unveil what Delegate Carl Anderton Jr. R-38B-Wicomico called “the future,” – a future that may not have been possible had Anderton not stopped to fill up his car with gas one night in 2015.

Standing at his gas pump, Anderton spotted Bitters fueling his car and was curious about when new stadium upgrades would start taking place.

“I looked at him and said ‘Hey brother, when you getting started over there?’ He looked and said, ‘That depends on you’,” Anderton said. “I jumped in my car and called Bunky Luffman, who was my legislative person at the time, and told him to dig in the budget and see if there’s anything in the budget for Perdue Stadium.”

Anderton’s actions paired with money from Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget finally gave the project the money it needed from across the bridge.

With approximately $2 million from the state of Maryland paired with $2 million from Wicomico County, Perdue Stadium was in line for a big upgrade.

“The pieces of the puzzle are coming together,” Anderton said.

The stadium, which opened in 1996, will now have the technology and potential to become one of the best MiLB stadiums on the East Coast.

For the first time in Shorebirds’ history, the video board will have the ability to list in-game player stats while featuring live video feeds in the near future. The additions will give fans a chance to experience baseball in Salisbury like they never have before.

With several new advancements, it’s only appropriate for the 2017 Shorebirds’ roster to feature a plethora of new players.