Frawley Stadium, home of the Wilmington Blue Rocks (High A; Carolina League), will see $1 million in improvements for 2016 and more in 2017 under a plan announced by team officials.
It’s a two-part renovation schedule. The first phase will see new lights and new seating — upgrades that address areas of the ballpark largely unchanged since it opened. State funding will pay for this part of the project. The rest of the upgrades — a 360-degree wrap-around concourse, potential development on the ballpark site, a concessions makeover — would come in 2017, under the current plan, with funding of $19 million still to be determined. From Delaware Online:
“It’s a great start,” [Blue Rocks managing general partner Clark] Minker said. “The state of Delaware has some difficult budget decisions to make, so we’re very grateful for the contribution the state did make.
“It’s not exciting. It’s not sexy,” he added of the need for better field illumination, “but our lights are no longer compliant with minor-league baseball standards. We’ve got to get those brought up to standards. That’ll also save substantially on electricity, and we want to be green and do the right thing.”…
“We’re fixing what’s broken,” Minker said, “which is not the grand master plan of the wrap-around concourse and the other things that we were planning to do right now. We’ll do that in the second off year.”
The 2017 season could be an exciting one in Wilmington. Minker and Main Street Baseball’s Dave Heller had an agreement to buy the Binghamton Mets (Class AA; Eastern League), only to see Michael Urda and other B-Mets walk away from the agreement. The two sided ended up in court, with a settlement reached in late May. The two sides have not announced the outcome of the agreement (though, we rush to note U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd ruled earlier that a decision by B-Mets owners to not sell the team to Main Street Baseball raises “serious questions going to the issue of good faith negotiations.” Do the math.) A potential move of the B-Mets in 2017 would set in motion a franchise shift that would see the Texas Rangers buy the Blue Rocks franchise for $12.5 million and move the team to Kinston, N.C.