Between now and New Year’s Eve we’ll run down the top ten stories covered on Ballpark Digest in 2014, determined by page views. At #5: a most unique ballpark proposal in Gastonia.
Ah, the power of love. There are many ballpark proposals over the course of a given summer, but 2014 saw one of the more unique, as Jesse Cole of Team Cole proposed to Gastonia Grizzlies (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) Director of Fun Emily McDonald in August.
Jesse Cole, of course, heads the firm that manages the Grizzlies and the Forest City Owls while also managing the Martinsville Mustangs, all of the summer-collegiate Coastal Plain League. He’s a baseball lifer, as is McDonald, who worked for the Binghamton Mets (Class AA; Eastern League), Ripken Baseball in Augusta and the Vermont Lake Monsters (short season A; NY-Penn League) before landing in Gastonia.
The proposal came on a big night for the Grizzlies: Sims Park was sold out — the second-biggest crowd in franchise history — and in addition to the on-field proposal, fans were treated to a surprise fireworks show immediately after the proposal. It’s fitting the proposal took place there: the pair met at Sims Park.
It ended up being a pretty good year for the pair: Cole ended up buying the Grizzlies from Ken Silver, and the city is contemplating a new downtown ballpark.
As noted, we’re running down the top 10 stories of 2014 on Ballpark Digest. Previously: