Grainger Stadium in Kinston, NC will once again host pro baseball in 2017. The Texas Rangers announced that they have purchased controlling interest in a Carolina League franchise that will begin play in Kinston in 2017. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s story is here.
Grainger Stadium is no stranger to pro baseball, as it hosted a Carolina League franchise from 1986 through 2011. In 2012, the franchise moved to the stadium in Zebulon, NC, which had lost its double-A tenant when it moved to Pensacola, FL.
The move to Kinston is part of a two-step process, where the high-A California League will shrink from ten teams to eight and the Carolina League, also high-A, will increase by two teams, to a total of ten. The two franchises to be contracted from the Cal League are the Bakersfield Blaze and the High Desert Mavericks, who play in Adelanto, CA.
The park in Bakersfield in particular has been substandard for years. Sam Lynn Ballpark is routinely rated at the bottom of the Cal League, and has often been referred to as the worst in affiliated Minor League Baseball. The city’s failure to provide its baseball team with a facility as nice as its minor-league hockey franchise has certainly led to the loss of the Blaze. This is truly a shame, not only because the city is a charter member of the Cal League, but also because the market would support pro baseball in an adequate facility. Read More