BB&T Point opened for the High Point Rockers (independent; Atlantic League) on Thursday, giving many a chance to celebrate the new ballpark and its potential impact on the city.
Thursday night saw the Rockers host the visiting Sugar Land Skeeters in the very first game at BB&T Point, a new ballpark located in downtown High Point. The $36 million facility has been planned for years as the anchor of a larger redevelopment initiative for the surrounding area, with apartments, a hotel, and childrens’ museum among the amenities expected to built.
That development is slated to take shape in the future, but the ballpark’s opening brought a sense of excitement surrounding High Point’s outlook for many, including High Point University president and project booster Nido Qubein. More from the News & Record:
“It’s not about baseball, albeit baseball’s at the center of it,” said Qubein, the charismatic president of High Point University and the driving force behind the ballpark’s fundraising efforts. “It’s the growth mindset that this kind of development creates.”
A full 2 hours and 45 minutes before journeyman right-hander Matt Sergey threw the first pitch Thursday night — a ball low and away to Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters’ lead-off hitter C.J. McElroy — Qubein paused in a quiet moment and looked out across the skyline and the tall spires of the First Baptist and First Methodist churches.
“We haven’t played any games yet, but I’ll tell you what the difference is,” Qubein said. “I’ve come here almost every day to see the progress. And every day I saw people coming to take a look. They’re going to be surprised when they see how nice this place is, and it’s not even finished yet.
“This is the message we’ve got to get across to people. It’s not finished. Blessing Park is going to be right here,” Qubein said, pointing beyond the left-field fence. “And behind it, we’re going to have a hotel here. We’re going to start seeing development over there, and over there.”
After a 20-minute delay to allow the sun set below the ballpark’s roof, the Rockers went on to defeat the Skeeters 3-0 in front of a reported standing-room-only crowd of 5,000. The Rockers, who are replacing a Road Warriors entry that competed in the circuit last season, are the Atlantic League’s first team based in the state of North Carolina.
Image courtesy High Point Rockers.