2023 STORIES...

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Editor Jim Lockwood

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Monday, April 3, 2023
Story by Mike Barton

STOCKHOLM (AP) - The 2023 season will mark the beginning of a new era of baseball in Sweden. The Stockholm Swedes have been in Stockholm for ten years now and the old Stockholm Field just wasn’t holding up. Team owner Michael Barton began a push to build a new stadium, and the support he got was tremendous. The last major contributor just stepped forward with a $25 million pledge that includes naming rights, and that donor was none other than Swedes hitting instructor Jose Cruz Jr. So opening day this season in Stockholm will have a special touch to it as the Swedes will play their first game in the brand new CruzDome.

This state of the art facility will allow the Swedes to play in a climate controlled facility and relieve some of the stress involved in trying to play an 81 game home schedule in such a wet climate. The CruzDome will have a sliding roof that will open on nice days but allow the Swedes to close when the threat of rain is near.

The player’s response to the new stadium has been pure joy. 1b Hank Greenberg said, "The CruzDome is the main reason I came back for another season. I can’t wait to play in an indoor climate controlled facility. Trying to hit here in Sweden in April and May can be pretty brutal, so I’m glad I won’t have to go through that this year. With this lineup and the short dimensions of this field (328-L, 375-LC, 400-C, 375-RC, 328-R) I think some teams will be surprised by our offense."

Not everyone was completely sold on the stadium yet though. Several unnamed Swedes Pitchers were reported as saying, "I wish they would have made it a little bit bigger to be honest... I feel like I’m pitching on a little league field... This really makes no sense. We have one of the better pitching staffs in the league and a below average offense, but when they build a new stadium they bring the fences in as close as they can to help out the offense and totally screw the pitchers."

Manager Ernie Banks has this to say, "There are going to be some changes this year for sure. Our pitchers are going to have to learn to get more groundballs, because fly ball outs last year will be homeruns this year. On the other hand we have a lot of power hitters who had so many of warning track fly ball outs last year and a lot of those will be homeruns this year, so it will even out in the end."

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