Chronological Tour: Stop 106

A Castle Out of State

Entrance to Knights Stadium, Sep-2007.

The seating bowl, as viewed from the top of the upper deck down the first-base line.

This photo, taken from the Home Run Café, shows the unusual scoreboard location in straightaway center field.

Quick Facts: Rating: 4 baseballs
This park, whose primary tenant bore the name of North Carolina’s largest city, is actually located about 15 miles south of town on I-77, and about three miles into the next state, making it the only baseball park I know of where the team played in a different state from its city name. (In the National Football League, the New York Giants and Jets play in East Rutherford, N.J.)

Despite its being built in 1990, the park, designed, like the one in Buffalo, to be expandable if Major League Baseball came calling, features many of the modern amenities fans and corporate clients come to expect. There are at least a dozen sky boxes ringing the upper deck, and these flank a two-level structure of which the bottom level is the press box and the top level is the Home Run Café, providing the best indoor view of a ball game this side of the 600 Club at Fenway Park. The restaurant was open year-round.

My impression of the park was favorable upon my first visit in 1996, and it remained unchanged in 2007. A few minor upgrades, such as replacing a few of the seats that have gotten a little creaky, would have kept this a first-class Triple-A facility for years to come.

The trouble is, the Castle’s days are numbered. Citing low attendance because fans in the more populated North Carolina part of the Charlotte metropolitan area don’t care to travel all the way down to Fort Mill (even though the park is only 20 minutes from downtown Charlotte), the team, the city of Charlotte, and Mecklenburg County got together to build a new park in downtown Charlotte, just two blocks from the football stadium that houses the NFL Carolina Panthers. This was similar to the situation in Indianapolis, also an International League member, when the Colts played at the Hoosier Dome across the street. The new Knights park was proposed to open for the 2009 season but was delayed; however, plans were resurrected and the Charlotte park opened in 2014.

Now, the Castle is on the chopping block. York County sold the property to the holding company for a clothing retailer in 2015, and the new owners plan to tear down the ballpark and repurpose the land.

Game # Date League Level Result
228 Sat 31-Aug-1996 International AAA CHARLOTTE 12, Toledo 6
898 Sun 2-Sep-2007 International AAA Durham 8, CHARLOTTE 1
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This page updated 22-Jan-2016