Hagerstown Suns possible move to Fredericksburg pushes forward
The latest attempt to move the Class-A Hagerstown Suns to Northern Virginia took another step forward Monday when the team's owner met face-to-face with Fredericksburg's City Council.
Fredericksburg.com reports that the Washington Nationals South Atlantic League affiliate would put $3 million up front to buy the land for a new stadium in the Celebrate Virginia South complex, a 38-acre mixed-use shopping and dining complex just off Interstate 95.
Suns management would like to see a publicly financed stadium built on the land, which would cost the public just less than $30 million. Fredericksburg.com says any construction costs over that would be covered by the team.
The Suns have played at Hagerstown's 4,600-seat Municipal Stadium since 1981, when the franchise moved to Maryland from Rocky Mount, N.C. They won a South Atlantic League championship in their first year and followed it up with division titles in 1986, 1994, 1998 and 2005.
More recently, Hagerstown played host to the early development of several players currently starring for the Nationals, including Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. When the team served as an affiliate for the Baltimore Orioles, players like Brady Anderson, Mike Mussina and Jim Palmer took the field for the Suns.
Municipal Stadium, though, is an aging facility which has undergone several major renovations since opening in 1930.
The thought of moving the Suns is nothing new. It was less than a year ago that the city of Winchester tried to attract the ball club, making the current situation 'deja vu," in the words of a Hagerstown City Councilman.
"I think we're back to the same old story, and that is can we come to lease terms? I just don't know whether we can," City Councilman Lewis Metzner told the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.