Not every MiLB team dumped by MLB in the sport’s reorganization has found a new home. For those teams, the end means a going-out-of-business sale and little else, as was the case with the Charlotte Stone Crabs (High A; Florida State League).
Take the sad end of the Stone Crabs: a going-out-of-business sale at Charlotte Sports Park last week. The Stone Crabs and the Florida Fire Frogs were casualties of the move from 160 MiLB teams to 120 teams for 2021 and beyond; simply put, no MLB team worked to keep either team in business, and given the lack of indy leagues in the area (as well as a lack of homes; neither team had access to ballparks), they ended up going out of business. And with the team notified it had to be out of Charlotte Sports Park by Jan. 6, the decision was made to hold a garage sale. From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
And with no summer activity involving the team at Charlotte Sports Park, soon-to-be unemployed Stone Crabs general manager Jeff Cook needed to clear his portion of the house.
Everything was arranged — at least at one point — on tables and on the floor inside the minor league offices at the stadium….
“How much do you want to give me?” was a familiar question, as customers dug into their pockets for the cash-only sales.
The Stone Crabs launched in the 2009 MiLB season when Ripken Baseball moved the Vero Beach Devil Rays to the renovated Charlotte Sports Park. The team was subsequently purchased by Caribbean Baseball Initiative, which also owns the Wichita Wind Surge (Class AA; Texas League).
As noted, the Florida Fire Frogs were also contracted in the MLB downsizing, That team was set to play in 2020 at North Port’s CoolToday Park as an Atlanta Braves farm team; previously the team had played at Kissimmee’s Osceola County Stadium and Space Coast Stadium in Viera. The loss of both the Stone Crabs and Fire Frogs means considerably less minor league baseball in Charlotte County and southern Sarasota County, with only the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels and the Bradenton Marauders in the general area, with an hour’s drive.
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