Ballpark Digest Weighs In On Hagerstown Rumors

As referenced in our previous post, the authority when it comes to minor-league facilities has weighed in.

Here’s the key graf in that story (bolding mine):

Now, we’re not talking the world’s greatest market: its population in 2009 was 26,322, its median income is lower than the rest of Virginia, and it’s the county seat of a relatively small county (Frederick County’s population is only 78,305, but it is growing). Indeed, to reach a 100,000 population within a decent driving distance of any Winchester ballpark, you need to include the entire county and all of Martinsburg, W.V., some 25 miles up I-81, as well as rural residents in the Martinsburg area.

I’ve been reading Kevin Reichard for the better part of a decade, which is not to say I’m slavish devotee. We’ve actually butted heads via e-mail, particularly when he correctly predicted the demise of my former hometown team, the North Shore Spirit. But I will say that he knows his [stuff] and have come to respect him.

I don’t think you can overestimate the value of a suitor that has a ballpark in place vs. that one does not. Kinston is the contender that folks in Hagerstown should be fearing. And look more carefully at that last line, it echoes what my friend Shawn wrote nearly a month ago (also worth another look).

He’s spot-on in the assessment that most people will blame the ownership vs. elected officials if the Suns were to leave. Indeed, when the North Shore Spirit folded its tent, there were folks praising Mayor Chip Clancy for “standing up” to the team’s mercurial owner, Nick Lopardo. My bias is obvious: I don’t care who “wins” in that battle; I just want the team to stay in place.

I’m guessing most of you feel the same way.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

9 thoughts on “Ballpark Digest Weighs In On Hagerstown Rumors”

  1. Kevin Reichard is doing his homework from afar and drawing conclusions without really knowing the territory.

    Here is what I can share about the population base around Winchester:

    The Winchester Baseball little league serves up to 4 local counties representing up to 156,117 population and then when you throw in the two WV counties that bumps up the population to 194,016.

    Population figures that the local little league program draws from:
    City of Winchester – 26,203.
    Frederick County – 78,305.
    Clarke County – 14,034.
    Warren County – 37,575.
    Hardy County, WV – 14,205.
    Hampshire County, WV – 23,964.

    And if Shenandoah County (approx 25-30 min drive) would be in the mix, then that’s another 41,993 which puts a potential fan base of approx 236,000.

    Also, Valley Health Systems is a reg’l hospital system that is headquartered in Winchester and serves 18 counties of a population base of approx 1.1 million.

    In my opinion, I think there is more than adequate fan base to support a minor league baseball team based out of Winchester.

  2. Quite often, with Reichard, you have to use more than a grain of salt. To say he is a legend in his own mind is an understatement. While he does have some scoops, he has also shown sloppy journalism at times. I well remember his proclamation Syracuse would re-up with Toronto in the Fall of 2008, ignoring the strong bitterness many in the Chiefs’ organization held toward the Blue Jays. That proclamation came only a week before the Chiefs and Nats made their affiliation official, and the folks in Syracuse are very happy (thankful, indeed) to be afiliated with the Nats. His writings have from time to time contained some very obvious errors (e.g., referring to Hagerstown as a member of the Midwest League and Colorado Springs as a member of the International League).

    1. I can’t argue with any of those criticisms. But I’m more than happy to use his site as the basis of hot-stove talk when we need it 😉

      1. I agree; what would you rather be talking about……….. the Wizards? 🙂

        I’d even rather talk about Silber than Dan Snyder or our NBA team.

      2. Sometimes Luke, one just has to go with what is hot! 🙂

        There’s no doubt that H’town Suns possibly relocating to Winchester is on everyone’s radar withing the Tri-State area.

  3. In my humble opinion and as a Suns season ticket holder I believe this all to be nothing more than a smart business person trying get as much leverage as they can to affect change at the Muni. Unfortunatly, at this time with all the fiscal watchdogs it stirs up more drama then it needs to.

    The suns will stay in hagerstown. Shopping your team to another city is the oldest trick in the book, if you want to get things done.

  4. Off topic, but Baseball America’s transaction list shows the Nats signing Austin Bibens-Dirkx – anyone have any further info. about him?

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