Now that the calendar has turned to 2020, we are closer to the opening of several new ballparks across Major League Baseball and affiliated Minor League Baseball.
Between MLB and MiLB this season, there are five new ballparks opening. For MLB, the debut of the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field will mark its first new ballpark opening since the Atlanta Braves unveiled SunTrust Park in 2017. Meanwhile, MiLB will follow a notably busy 2019 season that featured three facility openings with an even busier 2020, as four new ballparks are slated to debut. (We’ll cover renovated ballparks and college ballparks in separate articles this winter.)
With a look toward the spring, we present a list of ballpark opening dates for MLB and MiLB facilities, as well as summaries of each venue. Needless to say, the weeks-long period beginning at the end of March and extending well into April will be a busy stretch for new ballparks.
One of the highlights at the beginning of the MLB season will be the opening of Globe Life Field, the new retractable-roof home of the Rangers. The Rangers will face their division rival Los Angeles Angels in the ballpark’s regular-season opener, which will mark the franchise’s third home in Arlington since it relocated from Washington, DC prior to the 1972 season. While the March 31 game against the Angels kicks off the regular season slate at Globe Life Field, there will be a few events prior to that date, starting with a concert headlined by Chris Stapleton on March 14. The Rangers are scheduled to play exhibition games at the ballpark against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 23 and Rangers minor leaguers on March 24.
Built on the former site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the new ballpark is being constructed as a home for the relocating New Orleans Baby Cakes, who have rebranded as the Wind Surge to coincide with their move to Wichita. The $75-million ballpark is planned as the anchor of a redevelopment initiative in the surrounding area, with mixed-use amenities to be constructed around the ballpark. When the Wind Surge debuts at the ballpark against the Memphis Redbirds, it will mark the first home opener for an affiliated MiLB team in Wichita since the Wranglers (Class AA; Texas League) played their final season in 2007 before relocating to Northwest Arkansas.
Construction is on track for the $46-million ballpark, putting it in line to be ready for the Trash Pandas’ home opener against the Mississippi Braves. The facility is located in the Town Madison development, which has thus far been built up with the opening of amenities such as hotels and retail, but the ballpark’s construction has been credited with helping to accelerate work on future projects, leaving some intrigue for how the facility will affect the area over the long run. The Trash Pandas, the former Mobile BayBears, will be the first MiLB team to call the Huntsville Metropolitan Area home since the Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League) played their final full season at Joe Davis Stadium in 2014.
Planning has been taking place for several years on a new downtown Kannapolis ballpark, which serves at the center of plans that city officials and private developers have for a larger makeover of the surrounding area. The $52-million ballpark will be the new home of the Cannon Ballers—previously known as the Intimidators until rebranding this fall—while hosting other types of gatherings, including concerts, festivals and community events. The Cannon Ballers will face the West Virginia Power in their home opener.
After spending years trying to replace Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, VA with a new ballpark, the Nationals are inching closer to the opening of their home in Fredericksburg. The $35-million ballpark is being financed by team owner Art Silber and his family, with the city making an annual payment of $1.05 million to the team for 30 years as an anchor tenant. While construction is taking place on a tight timeframe—concrete was not poured until the fall—the Nationals plan to open as scheduled on April 23, though the team could return to Pfitzner Stadium for a temporary stay if the ballpark is not ready by that date. Leading up to the ballpark’s opening, the franchise has made some big moves, including a rebranding from the Potomac Nationals to the Fredericksburg Nationals, and the announcement that synthetic turf will be installed at the ballpark. The synthetic turf chosen for the ballpark is Shaw Sports Turf’s B1K system, which is also being installed at Globe Life Field.
Image of Wichita ballpark construction courtesy Wichita Wind Surge.
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