The Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League) could spend half or all of 2015 at Joe Davis Stadium if a new Biloxi ballpark isn’t completed, as owner Ken Young reviews his options for the coming year.
That the new Biloxi ballpark is far behind schedule is no secret: Biloxi officials are bracing for a construction schedule that could see a planned July 1 opening pushed back to later in July or August. While Young and the other Stars owners have a lease calling for $10,000 for each home game missed, that doesn’t change the fact that the team will need a team to play if a new Biloxi ballpark is delayed, whether it be as a road team (at which point a parent club will squeal: no one wants to see their best prospects play 75 or so game on the road) or at temporary venues (like nearby Southern League fields in Pensacola and Mobile or at a Hattiesburg college field). From Mark McCarter at al.com:
“I’m pondering,” Young said Thursday afternoon. “(In July) I believe I told you, no, we’ll play some place in Mississippi. I’m pondering right now and we’ll have the decision in the next couple of weeks where we open the season.”
Having the team based in Huntsville would provide more convenience for the players, staff and others rather than a patchwork schedule that might include games in other Southern League parks like Mobile and Jackson, Miss., as well as Hattiesburg, Miss., when dates were available.
“I wouldn’t anticipate a full season (in Huntsville),” Young said. “You never know, but I wouldn’t anticipate that.”
The current Joe Davis Stadium lease calls for notification to Huntsville officials by the end of the year about what the team intends to do for 2015. One potential complicating factor: in recent years MiLB has required teams to maintain a lease for a period after a move, just in case there are facility issues with a new city. We saw that play out this year when a new El Paso ballpark wasn’t finished at the beginning of the season and the El Paso Chihuahuas (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) began the season at their former Tucson home.
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