Future of Joe Davis Stadium Uncertain After Stars Leave
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WZDX) - It's the last first for a long-time Huntsville past-time.
The last home opener for the Huntsville Stars was Wednesday night. Now there are questions about the future of baseball in Huntsville.
This is the stars last contracted year here in Huntsville. They're headed to Biloxi, Mississippi. But is this the end of Minor League Baseball in Huntsville? And what will Joe Davis Stadium be used for?
After 29 years in the Rocket City, the team will take a permanent road trip to Mississippi next season.
"My favorite thing to do here is sit and watch the Huntsville Stars play," said Alexis Epperson, who came out to see the game with her parents.
But what happens to Joe Davis? The city currently owns the 10,000-seat stadium, and says it will be kept for public use after the team leaves, either for school teams to use or to possibly bring another baseball team here to Huntsville.
"The sooner the better. The city is way too big not to support baseball and the Stars have been here a long time, I hate to see them go," said Doug Engelkemier, with the Madison Baseball Association Rec League, who came out to watch the game.
The stars have been trying hard to fill the seats their last season in the Rocket City using discounts and promotions like the social media hashtag #justonegame.
"Our goal is to get a team back here as quickly as possible. 'Just one game' is all it takes to vote yes and get baseball back to Huntsville," says Stars General Manager Buck Rogers.
And it seems to have worked, for now at least.
"We're representing Madison Baseball Association which is the city rec league for the city of Madison, and we have about 400 baseball players and family coming out to support the Stars tonight," says Engelkeimer.
There was still a line to get into the stadium half an hour after the game had already started.
"It's the last season and we wanted to bring the boys to watch the first game," says Patricia Tigue, who brought her two children to see their first baseball game.
The city says they don't have a timeline to decide the fate of Joe Davis Stadium, and right now they have no intention of tearing it down.
The city says they're not currently in negotiations with any baseball team right now to come here to Huntsville.
Unfortunately for another team to come here, one would have to leave another city.
Major League Baseball can't just create a new Minor League Baseball team.