Charlotte’s minor league baseball team practiced in its new ballpark in uptown for the first time Tuesday.
There were two distinct sounds at BB&T Ballpark Tuesday afternoon.
One should be familiar to anyone who’s walked by the uptown site in recent months: the beep of cranes as construction workers put the finishing touches on light-up signs and other parts of the ballpark.
But the second sound hasn’t been heard in Charlotte since the late 1980s: the distinct pop of a minor leaguer firing a baseball into a catcher’s mitt. The Knights held their first practice in Charlotte Tuesday, after roughly 25 years of playing in Fort Mill.
As players tossed around in the outfield, pitcher Dylan Axelrod says even though the team didn’t move that far, “seems like it’s a world away, really, like this is completely different.”
“Standing at home plate, you have the whole skyline basically behind center field and right field, and the sun is shining on it and it reflects – shows off the city really well,” Axelroad said.
He and several other players said it’s easily the best view in the minor leagues.
The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County combined to commit about $15 million for BB&T Ballpark. Its total cost was four times that amount, around $60 million, according to Dan Rajkowski, the Knights’ chief operating officer.
“(It’s) been a lot of work, no question about that,” he said. “But I think the reward is we have is a beautiful place for our players to play and our fans to be a part of.”
Rajkowski said the Knights have already sold out their roughly 1,000 club seats this season. Opening night is Friday, April 11.