According to legal documents which inadvertently failed to redact “Hagerstown Suns baseball club, LLC” from a single line, the Single-A Suns are apparently on the verge of moving their operations to Winchester, Va., for the 2013 season.
Winchester must have a suitable stadium in place and the funding by April 21, but this development further illuminates what the parent Nationals expect in field and stadium improvements within their minor league system.
Last year, the Nationals were upset over the condition of Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va., where the advanced Single-A Potomac Nationals play their games. A couple of series had to be postponed or moved to other locations because of the poor field conditions. Similar concerns exist over the field at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown.
Potomac reacted with additions to the home clubhouse and the installation of a new field for the upcoming season. The P-Nats also hired a full-time groundskeeper who had previous experience working with the grounds crew at Nationals Park.
Your4state.com reports the city of Winchester needs to come up with $18 milion by April 21 to confirm the deal and new stadium.
The Suns are scheduled to play in 2012 at Municipal Stadium, which was built in 1930, making it one of the three oldest stadiums in all of minor league baseball.
Winchester is 75 miles west by northwest of Washington, D.C., a straight shot west on U.S. Route 50. Hagerstown is approximately the same distance from D.C., about 72 miles.
Should the Suns relocate, this would not be the first time Hagerstown has lost its minor league team over problems with field and stadium conditions. Following the 1992 season, the Suns were a Double-A farm club of the Orioles when the city of Hagerstown balked at making improvements necessary at Municipal Stadium to maintain the Double-A affiliation and the team moved to Bowie, Md. But the Single-A Myrtle Beach Hurricanes of the South Atlantic League moved to Hagerstown, and the team became an affiliate of the Blue Jays and later the Giants before aligning with the Nationals in 2007.