Knights’ Castle, the home of the Charlotte Knights, is an old dinosaur of a ballpark. It is not pretty, it is not convenient to anything in Charlotte, the grass berms for the fans to lounge and watch a game look like cow pastures and the dimensions of the playing field turn Triple A players into Hall of Fame hitters.
With that being said, I kind of like the old ballpark.
When George Shinn bought the Charlotte baseball franchise from the Crockett Family in the mid 80’s, he decided to move the club out of the downtown area. Charlotte traffic is bad. I mean Atlanta BAD. I guess the thought was to make it more accessible to the fans. He moved them to Fort Mill, SC. Until then, Fort Mill had been famous for only two things; Carowinds amusement park and the PTL Club of Jim and Tammy Baker fame. Word has it that Shinn got a deal for land for his new team and for the training facility for his new NBA team the Charlotte Hornets.
Knights’ Castle opened in 1990, so in this, the 20th year of the cinderblock structure, the front office is still hoping to get a brand-spanking new park in downtown Charlotte.
It won’t happen. The city of Charlotte has an NFL Stadium downtown and a relatively new NBA area. Putting a “minor league” park downtown would just not do. So here the Knights are. Stuck in South Carolina. Let’s hope they get their wish and move soon. However, unless Bud Selig comes calling, the city of Charlotte is happy with having a minor league team across the state line.
We arrived here at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday after the loss on Wednesday to Durham. So far the routine is the same for every game on the road. First bus to the ballpark at 2:30 p.m. for staff and guys who need treatments and/or want to get in some extra work. Second bus for everyone else at 4:00 p.m.
I take the early bus. Because even though Knights’ Castle is an eye sore, it is a ballpark. A big, ugly ballpark. And I love ballparks.