It's a new era dawning for Hagerstown Suns From Orioles to Jays, Double-A to Single-A

April 08, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

For the first time since Hagerstown regained minor-league baseball 13 seasons ago, there will be no ties with the Orioles.

When the Suns open the Single-A South Atlantic League season tonight at Municipal Stadium, Sunny, the team mascot, will be bedecked in Toronto Blue Jays blue.

The opponent, the Albany (Ga.) Polecats, will be wearing the Orioles' black and orange.

It is a notable shift for Hagerstown, which had been affiliated with the Orioles since 1981, but lost its Double-A Eastern League team when owner Peter Kirk decided not to invest the money necessary to bring the old stadium up to the Double-A standards imposed by Major League Baseball.

Now, the Double-A franchise is awaiting the construction of a new park in Bowie. As the Bowie Baysox, the team is playing this season at Memorial Stadium, abandoned by the Orioles.

Meanwhile, Hagerstown is making do.

"Our dealings with the Blue Jays have been wonderful, first-class all the way," said Suns general manager Bob Miller.

Already, about $500,000 has been invested in stadium improvements to conform to Single-A requirements.

"Of that, 90 percent is in the clubhouse areas," said Miller. "They've been enlarged, there is a brand new umpires room and complete offices in the clubhouse."

Men's and women's restrooms also have been improved and a picnic area added.

The bullpen, which was adjacent the old clubhouse, has been moved to center field and the outfield wall in right and right-center has been moved in five feet but has an 8-foot fence.

Last season, the Suns hit only 11 home runs in their own park, by far the league low, and 32 overall. This season, it will be easier for their sluggers -- except in left-center and center field over the blue wall.

"Death Valley," said Don Buford, the Suns manager in 1992, of that terrority. His club had more triples (33) than homers (32) overall.

"There were a dozen homers hit in the first workout," said Miller.

The Blue Jays' affiliate will be managed by former major-leaguer Jim Nettles with another former major-leaguer, Leroy Stanton, as the batting coach.

Leading the assault on the right-field fence should be D. J. Boston, a 6-foot-7 first baseman.

Miller is not sure how the team will draw without the Oriole connection.

A poor season (59-80) and the announcement that the franchise was moving doomed Hagerstown to about a 2,000-per game average last summer.

"The threat of having come close to losing baseball altogether may help us," said Miller. "Ads and tickets have gone well. I'd be surprised if we don't bring in 150,000 this season."

Suns schedule

Date Opponent Time

Apr. 8 Albany 7:05

Apr. 9 Albany 7:05

Apr. 10 Albany 2:05

Apr. 11 Albany 2:05

Apr. 12 at Fayetteville 7:05

Apr. 13 at Fayetteville 7:05

Apr. 14 at Fayetteville 7:05

Apr. 15 at Fayetteville 7:05

Apr. 16 at Asheville 7:05

Apr. 17 at Asheville 2:05

Apr. 18 at Asheville 2:05

Apr. 20 Columbus 7:05

Apr. 21 Columbus 7:05

Apr. 22 Columbus 7:05

Apr. 23 Columbus 7:05

Apr. 24 Columbia 2:05

Apr. 25 Columbia 2:05

Apr. 26 Columbia 7:05

Apr. 27 Columbia 7:05

Apr. 28 at Hickory 7:05

Apr. 29 at Hickory 7:05

Apr. 30 at Macon 7:05

May 1 at Macon 2:05

May 2 at Macon 2:05

May 3 at Macon 7:05

May 4 at Greensboro 7:05

May 5 at Greensboro 7:05

May 6 at Greensboro 7:05

May 7 at Greensboro 7:05

May 8 Charleston 2:05

May 9 Charleston 2:05

May 10 Charleston 7:05

May 11 Charleston 7:05

May 12 Augusta 7:05

May 13 Augusta 7:05

May 14 Augusta 7:05

May 15 Augusta 2:05

May 17 at Charleston 7:05

May 18 at Charleston 7:05

May 19 at Charleston 7:05

May 20 at Charleston 7:05

May 21 at Savannah 7:05

May 22 at Savannah 2:05

May 23 at Savannah 2:05

May 24 at Savannah 7:05

May 25 at Spartanburg 7:05

May 26 at Spartanburg 7:05

May 27 Fayetteville 7:05

May 28 Fayetteville 7:05

May 29 Fayetteville 2:05

May 30 Fayetteville 2:05

May 31 Spartanburg 5:05

June 1 Spartanburg 7:05

June 2 Greensboro 7:05

June 3 Greensboro 7:05

June 4 Asheville 7:05

June 5 Asheville 2:05

June 6 Asheville 2:05

June 8 at Charleston 7:05

June 9 at Charleston 7:05

June 10 Hickory 7:05

June 11 Hickory 7:05

June 12 Hickory 2:05

June 13 Hickory 2:05

June 14 at Charleston 7:05

June 15 at Charleston 7:05

June 16 at Spartanburg 7:05

June 17 at Spartanburg 7:05

June 18 at Hickory 7:05

June 19 at Hickory 2:05

June 21 SAL All-Star game

June 23 Charleston 7:05

June 24 Charleston 7:05

June 25 at Columbia 7:05

June 26 at Columbia 2:05

June 27 at Columbia 2:05

June 28 at Columbia 7:05

June 29 at Augusta 7:05

June 30 at Augusta 7:05

July 1 at Augusta 7:05

July 2 at Augusta 7:05

July 3 at Spartanburg 2:05

July 4 at Spartanburg 2:05

July 5 Fayetteville 7:05

July 6 Fayetteville 7:05

July 7 Fayetteville 7:05

July 8 Fayetteville 7:05

July 9 Savannah 7:05

July 10 Savannah 2:05

July 11 Savannah 2:05

July 12 Savannah 7:05

July 14 at Columbus 7:05

July 15 at Columbus 7:05

July 16 at Columbus 7:05

July 17 at Columbus 2:05

July 18 at Albany 2:05

July 19 at Albany 7:05

July 20 at Albany 7:05

July 21 at Albany 7:05

July 22 at Fayetteville 7:05

July 23 at Fayetteville 7:05 TC July 24 Columbus 2:05

July 25 Columbus 2:05

July 26 Columbus 7:05

July 27 Columbus 7:05

July 28 Macon 7:05

July 29 Macon 7:05

July 30 Macon 7:05

July 31 Macon 2:05

August 2 Asheville 7:05

August 3 Asheville 7:05

August 4 Asheville 7:05

August 5 Asheville 7:05

August 6 Charleston 7:05

August 7 Charleston 2:05

August 8 at Charleston 2:05

August 9 at Charleston 7:05

August 10 at Charleston 7:05

August 11 at Charleston 7:05

August 13 Greensboro 7:05

August 14 Greensboro 2:05

August 15 Greensboro 2:05

August 16 Greensboro 7:05

August 17 Hickory 7:05

August 18 Hickory 7:05

August 19 Hickory 7:05

August 20 Hickory 7:05

August 21 at Asheville 2:05

August 22 at Asheville 2:05

August 23 at Fayetteville 7:05

August 24 at Fayetteville 7:05

August 25 at Greensboro 7:05

August 26 at Greensboro 7:05

August 27 at Greensboro 7:05

August 28 at Greensboro 2:05

August 29 Spartanburg 2:05

August 30 Spartanburg 7:05

August 31 Spartanburg 7:05

Sept. 1 Spartanburg 7:05

Sept. 2 at Hickory 7:05

Sept. 3 at Hickory 7:05

Sept. 4 at Hickory 2:05

Sept. 5 at Hickory 2:05

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