The 2019 season was the last for the Fayetteville SwampDogs (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) at J.P. Riddle Stadium, as the team plans to relocate after sitting out the 2020 campaign.
In a Friday morning announcement, the SwampDogs revealed that they will not return to J.P. Riddle Stadium next season. According to the team, this comes as the result of failing to reach a workable lease agreement with ballpark landlord Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC). The SwampDogs spent 19 seasons at J.P. Riddle Stadium.
“Our goal was to continue being a source of low-cost summer entertainment for the community of which we’ve become an integral part,” said SwapDogs general manager Jeremy Aagard said in a press statement. “The financial terms of the lease we were offered by FTCC were inconsistent with that goal.”
“We always sought to provide affordable entertainment while giving back to the community that so enthusiastically supported us,” SwampDogs owner Lew Handelsman said in a press statement. “We thank the thousands of fans, host families, and the many business sponsors who warmly welcomed us and helped made the SwampDogs successful.”
The SwampDogs arrived at J.P. Riddle Stadium in 2001 following the departure of the Cape Fear Crocs (Low A; Sally League), beginning what would ultimately be a long run at the ballpark. The franchise continued operations there through the 2019 season, which was also the first year of Segra Stadium in downtown Fayetteville, the home of the affiliated minor-league Fayetteville Woodpeckers (High A; Carolina League).
According to Friday’s announcement, the SwampDogs remain a member of the Coastal Plain League, but will sit out the 2020 season before relocating. This represents the latest change to the CPL’s slate of competing teams for next season. The Edenton Steamers announced last month that they are shifting to the Tidewater Summer League, while the CPL has finalized plans for an expansion team in Colonial Heights, VA that will launch in 2020.