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A home run

by YES! Staff

editorial

News that the Greensboro Grasshoppers are seeking to buy their stadium, NewBridge Bank Park, strikes a chord for all of us in the news business.

It’s more than a sports story — though it is, indeed, a sports story. The ’Hoppers, a Class A Florida marlins affiliate, won the South Atlantic League championship last year in a dramatic series with the Savannah Sand Gnats. And though minor-league ball is more about player development than the amassing victories, a championship is always a big deal in Greensboro.

It’s more than a business story, too, although the deal structured between the team, the city and the Bryan Foundation is one of the more exotic chapters in the annals of baseball history. The land the park stands on once held the county social-services building; the Bryan Foundation financed the new facility in a swap for the land, and then, after an October 2003 voter referendum allowed for the downtown stadium, built the thing with Action Greensboro using no public money.

This latest chapter in the story of our downtown ballpark is also about a community doing something that worked. And because we often use this space to levy well earned criticism at our cities and their leaders, it is refreshing to laud a positive development.

Make no mistake: This is a good thing. Though YES! Weekly was still nothing but a glimmer in Publisher Charles Womack’s eye when the vote came down for the proposed downtown ballpark, many of us still remember the heated debate between the preservation crowd, who wanted to rebuild War Memorial Stadium, the knee-jerkers who just like to say no to anything and the progressive bunch who wanted a better facility.

Interesting that much of the anti-ballpark editorials written back then have been scrubbed from the internet.

This latest chapter in the story of our downtown ballpark is also about a community doing something that worked. And because we often use this space to levy well earned criticism at our cities and their leaders, it is refreshing to laud a positive development.

But this revision of history is in itself a testament to the success of the plan that took shape in downtown Greensboro, a plan to revitalize a corner of the district with something big, shiny and new.

That the Grasshoppers are now in a position to purchase the stadium that was made for them speaks to the team and the front office of the organization, but also to the folks who believed that if they built it, people would come.

Now in its eighth year of operation, the ballpark continues to attract fans for home games and create economic action for downtown businesses. The park and its team have become part of the fabric of the community — ask anyone in town about Spaz or Miss Babe Ruth, and they’ll know exactly who you’re talking about.

And if you haven’t been yet, spend a summer afternoon at our downtown ballpark and you’ll understand.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration

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