The talks are preliminary and in the very early stages, but Fredericksburg City Council member Matt Kelly posed the question at Tuesday's council meeting: is there any interest in moving forward with bringing a minor league baseball team to the Fredericksburg region?
Kelly said representatives from Fredericksburg another other officials in the region visited the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs stadium in Waldorf, MD, on Aug. 9 to discuss how Charles County, MD, officials made it work in their community. Kelly and Fredericksburg Assistant City Manager Mark Whitley represented the city.
"It is a beautiful facility if anyone has a chance to go there," Whitley said.
Kelly said Opening Day Partners, which is one of the largest minor league baseball owners, operators and ballpark developers, was at the meeting. According to its website, communities considering whether minor league baseball is a good fit frequently turn to Opening Day Partners for the feasibility studies, design, construction and financing of ballparks. Former Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce President and former Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors chairman Bob Hagan was the chief organizer of the Aug. 9 meeting.
"These discussions are ongoing and will probably continue to see where it goes," Kelly said.
Kelly said that the Blue Crabs stadium has more than 200 annual events, including concerts.
"Charles County is very happy with it," Kelly said. "This project by its nature will have to be a regional effort."
No other council members made comments about the idea.
The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs are part of the eight team Atlantic League. Brooks Robinson and Opening Day Partners own the team. The ballpark can seat 4,200 people plus lawn seating and skyboxes. The average attendance in 2011 was 3,294, below the league average of 4,085. Ticket prices are between $5 and $13 at the Blue Crabs' stadium. The Blue Crabs have about 70 home games a year.
A new stadium for a similar team in Sugar Land, Texas, opened this year at a cost of $35 million (separate of land costs), but the size is for 6,200 seats and as many as 10,000 concert seats. Sugar Land leaders picked a final site in May of 2010 and opened the stadium in April. The locality owns the Sugar Land stadium.
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