Winston-Salem’s Wrong Assumptions About Their New Stadium

New Ballpark #12
Image by Mr. Jincks via Flickr

Interestingly enough, I have recently just became a resident of Winston-Salem. And for the last however many years I’ve been here, I’ve been a resident of Greensboro. Well, it seems that to justify the new baseball stadium for the Winston-Salem Dash, they’ve used the Grasshopper Stadium as an anchor point even though there are some significant flaws in the argument.

Here are my thoughts on it based off of some of the things that were said on The Business Report off WFDD:

  • Grasshopper Stadium has done well for Greensboro. I agree here, but you have to also realize that UNC-Greensboro, Greensboro College, A&T and I might be missing some others, all converge on downtown Greensboro. The fact is that you have several major schools with students looking for things to do, and within walking distance. I will go as far as to say that some of the students at these respective schools only go to the games on Thirsty Thursdays because of… well, you don’t need me to explain it but it’s not because of baseball.

    I’ll also go as far as to say that the look-and-feel of the two downtowns are extremely different. Greensboro has Center City Park, which is another privately owned venture and other sorts of things that have the entertainment seekers running around at night. I’ve never gotten the same feel for Winston-Salem’s downtown which is very much more business oriented and has that sort of look and feel. Greensboro has always felt like an infant San Francisco, while Winston-Salem was an infant Chicago. Two very distinct paths which cannot be thrown into the same basket because the population size is somewhat similar.

  • The money is similar for the same seating. Yet, a big difference is how it’s funded. Grasshopper Stadium was all private money. About fifteen million was from the Bryan Foundation and the rest was raised through private means. Winston-Salem’s funding is between the tax payers and Billy Prim’s financing. When you have skin in the game, it makes it a different scenario.
  • Greensboro backed the stadium. Somehow, I’d like to say that if Greensboro’s taxes were up for grabs for Grasshopper Stadium, we would have a different story here. Everyone is always happy to partake in the festivities that someone else’s coin pays for. But when your coin is paying for someone else’s fun? It’s not always a loving situation. Greensboro’s City Council knew that and stepped away from it right at the beginning. I’m not at liberty to speak of the actions by Winston-Salem’s Council since I don’t know the local politics here. Needless to say? Obviously there are a lot of grumblings.

I will say that a huge mistake by a lot of people is not only looking at the situation, but comparing stadiums of larger sizes to this one. With a AAA team, Grasshopper Stadium is actually the closest comparison in cost, physical location and size. But the one big part that’s missing are the points above. It’s like trying to compare people from LA to NYC. Two distinctly different cities, with different cultures, and trying to figure out why the Dodgers don’t play like the Yankees. Something is just a little bit off there.

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