Usually, when an outfielder runs through or over the fence in pursuit of a potential home run, they are greeted with gusto when they return to the dugout. If an outfielder attempted to do that on the diamond at Union City (N.J.) High, they would end up in a hospital, or possibly worse … a funeral home. There’s a good reason for that: Union City plays its games on what is almost certainly the only baseball field in the country that is four stories above ground level.
As noted in a terrific profile piece in MaxPreps, Union City’s baseball field sits on top of Union City High in the midst of the most densely populated town in the nation. The baseball field is part of the school’s multi-purpose athletic field, part of a $173 million capital development project.
Despite the sticker shock that comes from any $173 million high school facility, the Union City field is a sight to behold. The capital project spans 366,000 square feet in total and features both a three-acre football field that includes bleachers for 4,500 and a state of the art gym that can seat 1,800.
The Union City baseball field is built into the football field on the roof, leaving plenty of room for home runs and foul balls to do significant damage to cars parked four stories below.
Fittingly, Union City High also probably features a more robust insurance policy guarding against damage from baseballs, too. According to MaxPreps, the school’s policy includes coverage for any foul balls that do any damage to school or private property. The policy would also likely cover physical injury should any bystander be struck with a foul ball below the field, but Union City has been lucky enough to avoid such a scenario so far.
That’s a remarkable feat in itself, given the fact that Union City is home to more than 66,000 New Jersey residents in the space of just 1.283 square miles, making it the most dense location in the nation.
So far, the rooftop baseball solution has been a great success, perhaps providing a mild home field advantage for Union City, which is more used to the football field lines and painted midfield logo in odd positions on the respective diamond once it is laid out in the spring.
And, if nothing else, the field speaks to the ingenuity of the New Jersey community, which has consistently found ways to work around the structural limitations imposed on it by its sheer lack of size.