Later this week, the Charlotte Knights will open BB&T Ballpark, a beautiful new stadium located in Charlotte's Uptown area. The Charlotte Observer previews the park's opening with an overview of the sport's history in the Queen City, the idea behind the Knights' move to Fort Mill, S.C., in the late 1980s, and the lengthy negotiation process behind their return to the city.
For a city sometimes regarded as too big for its britches, BB&T Ballpark – which opens Friday night to a weekend of sellout crowds – is a small thing on a grand scale. Stuffed into a single city block down the street from its colossal cousin, Bank of America Stadium, the ballpark offers entertainment inside and promise outside. About $250 million worth of development, including luxury apartments, is rising just beyond its ramparts, and more is expected.
Like anything in Charlotte that requires public money and land, it has been a contentious issue. BB&T Ballpark’s charms – the league’s largest scoreboard, suites on the dugout level that put you closer to the batter than the pitcher is – will do little to soothe critics. But for anyone who loves the game, the ballpark is a thing of intimate beauty.
Opening Night for BB&T Ballpark is Friday. Scores and stats from Sunday's games will appear in the comments shortly.