New Baseball Team to Play on Floating Dock

Updated: September 26, 2019

The Port Royal Privateers, the minor league baseball team that will begin play next year in the newly formed Intercontinental Baseball Coalition, have partnered with the Port Royal Development Company and distiller Diageo on building a baseball park on a massive barge to be situated off a recently built pier for cruise ships.

Rising sea levels have threatened Port Royal, portions of which were previously submerged after earthquakes in 1692 and 1907. The pier, built as part of an effort to spur tourism in the largely neglected Jamaican city, is located near Gallows Point, which saw large numbers of pirates hanged during the city’s cleansing of its one-time reputation as the wickedest city on earth. Just past left field is the submerged graveyard where infamous pirate Henry Morgan’s body was claimed by the sea during the 1692 quake.

Diageo has purchased the naming rights to the barge, which, although dubbed Sir Henry Morgan Park, will feature a museum on the pier dedicated to Morgan and Captain Morgan Rum. Diageo, which also owns Guinness, Ketel One, Johnnie Walker and Gordon’s, will be the sole alcohol concessionaire at the park. Unlike most athletic stadiums which serve just beer, the park, in staying true to the city’s ancient history, will have no limits on spirits offered.

“The tourism in this town plays up the debauchery that existed in its pirate days and the agreement with Diageo is that fans, a large number of whom will be tourists, get that same experience,” a team spokesman said.

Capt. Morgan

Henry Morgan

Port Royal was perhaps the most famous pirate town in history. The team’s nickname, Privateers, comes from the practice of commissioning private ships to conduct war on the high seas. In the 17th Century, the British turned Port Royal over to pirates to defend the city from the Spanish and subsequently launch attacks on Spanish coastal towns and ships. In addition to being a factor that limited Spain’s influence in the New World, it led to the city becoming a virtual utopia for pirates. Morgan grew wealthy as an admiral, a privateer, a pirate and later Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica.

Dutch explorer Jan van Riebeeck once wrote of the city, “The parrots of Port Royal gather to drink from the large stocks of ale with just as much alacrity as the drunks that frequent the taverns that serve it.”

Around the time of Morgan’s death in 1688, Port Royal began a campaign to rid the pirates. Although, Morgan had been instructed to do so when in office, it is believed he continued to welcome any that paid him dues.

The barge, a dumb barge – that is it will not be powered – will likely be stationary and will serve other tourist uses in the offseason. “We will get a chance to take a look at this as a test for survival going forward as the city slips underwater,” said a spokesman from the Port Royal administrator’s office.

Although geographically isolated, Port Royal is just a half hour drive from San Juan’s A-ball affiliate in Kingston which will allow for easy shuffling for players. It is also just ten minutes from Kingston airport which will serve both teams.