As the days grow longer and summer takes hold in southern Maine, families looking for entertainment should look no further than Old Orchard Beach and Sanford.

This year, like last, both York County towns are fielding collegiate baseball teams that offer fans a chance to experience high-level baseball together on a warm summer night in two historic venues, while enjoying baseball favorites such as hot dogs and popcorn, all at a reasonable price.

The Sanford Mainers play all of their home games at Goodall Park in Sanford. The ballfield has been around for more than 100 years and rumor has it that former New York Yankees great Babe Ruth hit a home run there in the early part of the 20th century.

The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach reopened two years ago after sitting idle since 1997. It used to be the home of the Maine Guides minor league baseball team, and musical acts such as Aerosmith and Bob Dylan once graced a stage there.

Now both sites open their gates to new experiences.

The Sanford Mainers is a beloved baseball team that just started its 11th season. Fans and the community are loyal to the team and proud of their park. In fact, local townspeople, businesses, trusts and organizations this past year helped raise $300,000 to improve Goodall Park. As a result, the community is having a thank-you celebration at the ballpark on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

The money raised improved the town-owned park with new outfield fencing and leveling, a new scoreboard, new foul poles, equipment storage boxes, dugout benches, an ornamental fence on Roberts Street, a paved parking lot at Benton Playground and a new warning track.

The strong community support in Sanford is what helps keep this baseball team in the town, providing family entertainment.

Old Orchard Beach has the foundation to do the same, but it must receive better support from area businesses and the community. The Ballpark would not have reopened without a lot of hard work from volunteers, and these people do a wonderful job maintaining The Ballpark and creating a comfortable environment for fans.

But more must be done. The Ballpark needs the investment of time and money from area organizations and businesses if fans in the area are going to continue enjoying baseball games there as they do in Sanford. The Ballpark is in need of upgrades in order to bring it up to modern comforts and standards.

When the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide started calling The Ballpark its home in the summer of 2011, it was a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. After a mildly successful season, a change in ownership almost left Old Orchard Beach without a team.

Local investors saved the squad and moved it into the Future Collegiate Baseball League for its second season, which began earlier this month. The first season saw decent fan support, as the team averaged about 450 in attendance.

Still, the business community needs to get behind the product more if the Raging Tide has a chance of staying in Old Orchard Beach. If one looks at the fence at Goodall Park, it is covered with local advertising. If one looks at the fence at Old Orchard Beach, it has a few advertisers, but not many.

Baseball teams’ parks are usually covered with advertising to the point where the color of the fence is almost not seen.

It’s true that the Raging Tide is still in its infancy, and The Ballpark has only been reopened for two years. It takes time to generate support, but businesses in Old Orchard Beach must begin to support The Ballpark and the team, or else it will be just another memory.

Ӣ Ӣ Ӣ

Today’s editorial was written by Sports Editor Al Edwards representing the majority opinion of the Journal Tribune Editorial Board. Questions? Comments? Contact Managing Editor Kristen Schulze Muszynski by calling 282-1535, Ext. 322, or via email at [email protected].