|Chronological Tour: Stop 162|
Exterior of Grainger Stadium, May-2011.
The seating bowl is typical of mid-century parks.
The Marlboro Man has been replaced by the logo mascot of the K-Tribe.
Doesnít mean there arenít any corporate tie-ins, though. In 1999, the owner of the Kinston Indians (henceforth known as the K-Tribe) owned the Bojangles restaurant chain as well as a small (two locations in Kinston) chain of Fifties-style diners with gas stations called RightWay (motto: ďEat Here Ė Get GasĒ). Both were promoted: the vendors wear RightWay shirts, and thereís a Bojangles stand in the picnic area down the right-field line. (I returned for a farewell visit in 2011 and both were no longer in effect.)
As for the park itself, itís, well, old. Itís concrete, with a lot of wood. I heard people on my trip knocking the place, but I thought it had character. Not much to see, although the water tower in left field is painted with a K-Tribe logo. Or, again, it was in 1999; in 2011 the logo was a rather generic declaration, Kinston: All-American City.
A series of franchise shifts was announced in late 2010 which left Kinston without a professional team in 2012. The K-Tribe relocated to Zebulon to fill the gap left by the purchase of the Double-A Carolina Mudcats, who moved to Pensacola, Fla.
After five seasons with a Coastal Plain League team (college summer ball), Grainger Stadium got its professional baseball back in 2017, when the Texas Rangers bought the High Desert Mavericks and that club was transferred from the California League to the Carolina League along with the Bakersfield Blaze. The new team in Kinston will be known as the Down East Wood Ducks. Iím down with Wood Ducks, but not with Down East, which to me implies coastal eastern Maine; apparently the term has currency along US 70 as well.
|374||Mon 9-Aug-1999||Carolina||A||KINSTON 4, Salem 2|
|1118||Sat 28-May-2011||Carolina||A||KINSTON 5, Winston-Salem 2|