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Wood Ducks, Kinston at Odds Over Grainger Stadium Scoreboard

Grainger Stadium

Concerns over the current scoreboard at Grainger Stadium remain unresolved, as a funding request from the Down East Wood Ducks (High A; Carolina League) for a replacement has been tabled twice by Kinston officials.

The Wood Ducks, who rent the city-owned Grainger Stadium as a tenant, went to the Kinston City Council twice last month with a request for $624,100 to fund a new scoreboard project. Under the team’s proposal, the 12-year-old scoreboard that currently serves the ballpark would be replaced by a new display and computer system. If installed, the new scoreboard would be located in left field rather than right field, where the existing board stands, putting it out of the line of sunsets and providing fans in the Mother Earth Pavilion down the right-field line with a view of the board. (The existing scoreboard can be seen in the photo above, taken during our 2017 visit to the ballpark.)

Funding for the new scoreboard was debated by the Kinston City Council on November 4, only to be tabled until a November 18 meeting that ultimately ended with the request being tabled again. The Wood Ducks have contended that the project is necessary, as the current scoreboard’s control console has crashed. The team has been hoping to have a new scoreboard installed in time for the Freedom Classic game slated for Grainger Stadium in February, but Kinston mayor Dontario Hardy seems to want options beyond the team’s proposal. The matter is slated to be discussed the city council again on January 6, with the council expected to consider a more affordable alternative. More from The Sun Journal:

According to [Wood Ducks’ vice president Wade] Howell, the scoreboard itself is not the main problem. Though the board is currently missing lights and showing pink streaks across the monitor, the players’ logos and stats must be updated manually since the Daktronics’ 5000 series control console crashed.

“When you go to a game, you see players’ stats on a board with updated home runs,” [Wood Ducks’ vice president Wade] Howell said. “We can’t do that. We have to manually update and run it individually.”…

Hardy said the only option presented to the city council was the $624,100 cost.

“We love the Down East Wood Ducks, but we need to see what options are available,” Hardy said. “We have to make the right decision. That’s why it was tabled twice.”

The Wood Ducks, owned by MLB parent Texas Rangers, initially agreed to a 12-year lease prior to beginning play at Grainger Stadium in 2017, before eventually extending that pact to 15 years.

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