Charlotte Knights

‘Very classy.’ … Charlotte Knights rank No. 1 in something all their fans can enjoy.

The uptown Charlotte skyline provides a dramatic and constantly changing backdrop for BB&T BallPark. Baseball America ranks the stadium the No. 1 minor league baseball venue in the nation.
The uptown Charlotte skyline provides a dramatic and constantly changing backdrop for BB&T BallPark. Baseball America ranks the stadium the No. 1 minor league baseball venue in the nation.

The next time you attend a game at BB&T BallPark, you’re walking into the No. 1 minor league baseball stadium in the country.

At least that’s the opinion of Baseball America in a recent article. That’s out of 248 minor league baseball teams.

The article’s authors singled out BB&T BallPark’s view of uptown and much more.

“It is legitimately a major league-style ballpark, but for a Triple-A team,” one broadcaster told Baseball America. “Completely renovated and upgraded with the best technology and amenities, incredible views and sight lines from everywhere in the park, as well.

“Just a gorgeous ballpark.”

The website also quoted a baseball scout as saying, “It has a good downtown location. It’s an outstanding stadium with a great view of the downtown. Very classy stadium.”

Another of the Knights’ attractions, Friday night fireworks displays, return this week when Charlotte begins a homestand against Durham.

Fireworks at BB&T Ballpark help to light up the Charlotte skyline following a 2017 game between Team USA and Team Cuba. Jeff Siner

Most of the top 10 stadiums were affiliated with AA and AAA teams. Ranked second was Blue Wahoos Stadium, home of Pensacola’s team in the AA Southern League. Third was Coca-Cola Park, home of Lehigh Valley’s team in the AAA International League, of which Charlotte is a member.

The Knights have led the minor league in attendance most seasons since the stadium opened in 2014 and have drawn 115,487 fans so far this season. Entering this weekend, that was No. 1 in the minors.

Incidentally, the Knights will have to go a ways to equal one fan amenity at Dr. Pepper Ballpark, home of the Frisco RoughRiders, the Dallas-area AA farm team of the Texas Rangers. That stadium features the Choctaw Lazy River, a 175-foot-long waterway where fans can cool off by floating along in the river.

BB&T BallPark has been the home of the Charlotte Knights since 2014. Jenna Eason

Here’s a look at how the Knights have fared during the past week, and what’s ahead:

Monday: The Gwinnett Stripers blanked Charlotte 5-0. The Knights’ bullpen was hit hard, and Charlie Tilson got two of Charlotte’s five hits.

Tuesday: Pitcher Michael Kopech went six innings, allowing four runs (three earned), as the Knights fell 8-6 to Gwinnett. The Stripers scored four times in the ninth, including a two-run homer by six-time major league all-star Jose Bautista. Kopech, incidentally, was named Chicago White Sox farm system Pitcher of the Month for April.

Wednesday: The Knights closed a homestand with a 6-5 victory over the Stripers. The Knights had their sixth sellout of the season – a crowd of 10,702 for a late-morning game. Kevan Smith and Patrick Leonard homered for Charlotte.

Thursday: Starting a four-game series in Columbus, farm team of the Cleveland Indians, the Knights lost 4-2. The Clippers’ Yu Chang hit a game-ending two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. Charlotte starter Donny Roach went seven innings, allowing two runs.

The Chicago White Sox take batting practice at BB&T BallPark before an exhibition game with their AAA farm club, the Charlotte Knights. Baseball America ranks the stadium the No. 1 minor league baseball venue in the nation. Jeff Siner

Friday: Kevin Smith hit a two-run homer, his third in four days, but the Knights fell 7-5 to Columbus. Providence High product Richie Shaffer hit an RBI single for the Clippers.

Saturday: T.J. House allowed only one hit in seven innings, and relievers Tyler Danish and Rob Scahill completed the shutout, as the Knights beat Columbus 1-0.

Sunday: Eric Haase’s two-run homer in the eighth inning lifted the Clippers past the Knights 4-3. Casey Gillaspie had two of Charlotte’s nine hits, including a homer.

The week ahead: The Knights play four games at Gwinnett (7:05 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10:35 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday), then return home Friday to open a series against Durham (7:04 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:05 p.m. Sunday).

Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle

Military personnel and members of the Charlotte Knights baseball team hold an American flag in the BB&T BallPark infield during the singing of the national anthem before a game last summer. Jeff Siner

The Charlotte Knights host the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at BB&T BallPark to open the 2018 season in Charlotte, NC on Thursday, April 12, 2018.