Local News

Mudcats Look Forward to New Stadium in 1999

Posted September 6, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Another end-of-summer tradition is being played out, quite literally in Zebulon.The Carolina Mudcatsare finishing their season in a stadium, they hope, is finished too.

Monday, The "Muddies" played what should be their last game in their old park.

The Carolina Mudcats hope their new stadium will be finished by next spring when the Mudcats start their season.

It's the end of a season and the end of an era for Carolina Mudcats fans. To keep up withminor leaguestandards, Five County Stadium, the Double A team's home for the past 8 years, will have a major league overhaul.

"What you see around you today, in ten days will be gone," said Mudcats owner Steve Bryant. "The only thing left standing will be the light towers, the outfield fence and that huge scoreboard."

The team has the $10 million for the first phase of the stadium renovation. But it is still $5 million in the hole for the rest of the project.

This frustrates Wake County leaders who blame the city of Raleigh for not making a greater effort to step up to the plate.

"It's a matter of whether the will of the so-called leadership of this community will want to move forward with that. That stadium should have been completed a long time ago," said Wake County Commissioner Vernon Malone.

The owner of the Mudcats says he has had to face bigger odds before, like when he had to build the first Five County Stadium literally from the ground up.

"It was a tobacco field," explained Bryant "It was a miracle it was ever built here."

Still, some Mudcats fans have their doubts about where the team's first pitch will be thrown next year.

"They're gonna have to get busy," said Mike Page, a Mudcats fan. "It's going to be a long winter I guess. They have got a lot of work."

The team only needs to have phase one done by next year. That leaves lots of time to raise the $5 million they need for phase two. They hope to have phase two completed by the year 2000 season.