Local News

Fayetteville Strikes Out With the Cape Fear Crocs

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FAYETTEVILLE — The Cape Fear Crocs will soon be hitting the road for good. Theminor leagueteam has been sold and will be moved to New Jersey.

There has been speculation the team would be sold for the last several years because owners could not get the money to upgrade J.P. Riddle Stadium.

Now it's a done deal. Next year will be their last inCumberland County.

"Things had to change sometime," said team owner Greg Padgett. "You just can't keep on forking money into something that isn't going to make money for you."

The Crocs were sold for $3 million, and for the first time in 13 years, Fayetteville will not have a minor league baseball team.

"This is probably the hardest market to sell advertising or get fans into the ballpark," said Doug Traub with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. "For some reason this is probably the toughest market I've ever seen."

Padgett has unsuccessfully lobbied city and county leaders for financial help in building a new stadium or renovating their current home because it does not meet minor league standards.

The new owners are moving the team to Lakewood, N.J., where a $20 million stadium is now being built.

"It's a real tragic loss to lose someone like the Cape Fear Crocs, which really contributes to the quality of life in this community," Traub said. "But hopefully the silver lining will be a couple of years down the road, we'll find a replacement and we'll have a new stadium built downtown."

Crocs owners know they will take an attendance hit next year, but the new owners have agreed to pay 50 percent of any losses they might suffer.