Loyal Fans: Final Huntsville Stars’ Home Season Opener Is “Bittersweet”

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)– Huntsville Stars’ baseball fans came in the hundreds for the 30th and final season home opener Wednesday evening at Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville.

Next season, the team will be based out of Biloxi, Mississippi.

“This is bittersweet.  There was something special about this ballpark and this team,”   long-time baseball fan Rip Johnston said.

Johnston and his family has been coming to Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville for more than a decade to watch their favorite team.

“I hate to see them go. They are a fun team to watch play out here. We hope to get to as many games this season as we can,” Johnston added.

Aging Facility

Concerns about maintenance issues at the once-popular ballpark prompted a letter from the Huntsville City Attorney’s office to the Stars last season. The city owns Joe Davis Stadium and leases it to the Stars.

Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling and other city officials told WHNT News 19 that the Stars never sent any formal response or even acknowledgement of the letter, further compounding an already fractured relationship between the team and city.

What if any action could be taken remains to be seen. City officials said they first want to see how the stadium operates on opening night before making any decisions. A malfunctioning scoreboard and public address system were listed as the top concerns by city officials.

“I’m saying we’ve got a problem.  We’ve brought it to their attention and we’re expecting them to be good neighbors,” said Kling.  “If they’re not, then the city could step in, do the necessary repair work and then hold back the appropriate amount of funds that would normally go to the Huntsville Stars.”

 

9 comments

  • Timbo Slice

    Star’s is not a plural, but a possessive. Just maybe, the abandonment of journalistic standards, such as proper grammer, contributed to the passing of the Stars in our community. Writers must demonstrate a command beyond 5th grade grammatical standards, or the product they are paid to hype, rather than report on, is sold as an inferior product.
    Bush league writing fails to enhance a franchise and city which both are failing to meet bush league standards in promotion and professionalism.
    When was the “once popular” stadium popular? And if it was popular, what has the current city leadership done, or failed to do, to make the formerly popular stadium popular again?

    • Nuclear Mike

      UPDATE: Alabama is not a minor league state for baseball…

      “The Mobile Baybears played the Montgomery Biscuits Wednesday night at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Alabama but the crowds were slim.

      There were more empty seats than there were filled seats during the game, leaving officials wondering why.”

  • Bill

    This city CAN’T support a baseball team……period. And we don’t need a stadium downtown!!! The real estate that the stadium is on, is worth more for some other use. That other use can be debatable. There are somethings that Huntsville just can’t support, and they need to move on. Trying to be everything to everybody cost to much money!!!!

  • Chris

    In the 25 years I’ve lived in Huntsville I’ve only been to one Stars game. It was as boring as watching paint dry.

  • Jason Presley

    The “city” (meaning the city government) doesn’t actually want a baseball team, at least not if they have to lift a finger to support it. They’ll pay the expected lip service, and talk about all these lofty goals for a downtown park (hint, no one outside the historic district cares about downtown Huntsville) and all of that, but when you look at nearly everything Huntsville does, we’d be better off without.

    Joe Davis Stadium was 10 years out of date when it was built in 1984. A new stadium, constructed and designed by the same unimaginative North Alabama good-old-boys would be equally as ugly and impractical (and made of 95% featureless concrete). If any effort is made to build a new park or remodel The Joe, it seriously needs to be done by competent OUT OF STATE contractors who have actually done something like that before lest we just get the 2010s version of concrete and metal siding.

    I like baseball, and I was at the game last night. The scoreboard has been broken for years, and was still broken last night. The grass on the field looked terrible. The PA system is very weak since they eliminated the big speakers out beyond the fences (apparently where all the bottom-end of the audio spectrum came from). Our PA announcer sounds bored to tears.

    At some point, those involved with maintaining the stadium clearly decided to make only the bare minimum effort to keep the ballpark open and the field playable. I’ve been to MUCH better facilities in smaller towns with Single A level teams. Joe Davis just about has the amenities I’d expect from a Pioneer League or Appalachian League team. They players who come to Huntsville after playing for the Brevard County Manatees must feel like they got a demotion when they arrive in AA.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want baseball in Huntsville, and when I lived here from 1986-1990, I loved going to games, back when people actually cared about the team, and the team was enthusiastic about producing a fun experience at the park. Sadly that has not been the case for many years.

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