The Hagerstown Suns, the Class-A affiliate of the Nationals, are several steps closer to moving to Fredericksburg.
A group has been trying to lure a baseball team to Fredericksburg for over a year, and the two organizations consistently in the mix were the Suns and the independent Atlantic League (who were rumored to be eyeing Fredericksburg as a possible expansion site).
Last week, the Fredericksburg town council unanimously approved a stadium plan and sent it to the Suns for their approval.
The plan would involve a five field complex along with a 5,000 seat minor league park. Fredericksburg's study showed that a team in Fredericksburg would draw roughly four to five thousand fans a night (roughly what the High-A Potomac Nationals and AA Harrisburg Senators draw).
Currently, the Suns play in the 82-year-old Municipal Stadium, and in Hagerstown they have had the lowest attendence among the South Atlantic League, drawing roughly 1,500 fans a night. Hagerstown is an old manufacturing city, on the decline. But Hagerstown isn't out of the mix yet. The city's mayor and city council want to build a new stadium, and the Suns' ownership is meeting with the city tomorrow. Hagerstown's Mayor Gysberts is committed to building a new baseball stadium, whether or not the Suns stay, but that's not a popular move among Hagerstown's citizens.
Gysberts seems to believe that if Hagerstown builds a new stadium, a team will come. I would be curious if a team could come to Hagerstown if the Suns left the city; the city would most likely fall within the Frederick Keys' territory, and they could veto any affiliated minor league team that would want to relocate there.
In short, there's a proposal on the table for a new stadium to lure the Hagerstown Suns south to Fredericksburg. Will they take it? On paper, they probably should. A new and modern facility, better attendence.
This will be something to watch in the offseason as it develops.