According to a Ballpark Digest report, the new home of the Huntsville Stars, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Double-A affiliate, is behind schedule and over budget, which has snowballed into an array of issues for the club and the city of Biloxi moving forward.
The project, which came in price-wise at $36 million – roughly $5 million over the allocated construction budget – was already behind when that figure was tabulated. Now that a new construction plan has been put together, a new issue has arisen: construction has been stretched out over a year, meaning the new ballpark won’t open until – at the earliest – July of 2015. For those of you who don’t follow baseball that much, the season starts much earlier than that. At that rate, some 35 home games won’t be played at the new facility.
This is where is gets complicated.
With this plan, a penalty clause kicks in because the ballpark won’t be ready for the first 35 home games, giving the owners of the Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League) $10,000 per missed game: $350,000. But there’s also the chance more games could be missed, so if construction stretches out to the end of August, the team could miss 55 home games — and receive $550,000 from Biloxi.
Next year’s Southern League schedule is already out, but clearly, without a home ballpark, something will have to give. Options noted by Ballpark Digest include splitting the season between Huntsville, where the Stars currently call home, and Biloxi. The report, however, does point out the web of complications that could – and likely would – arise from such a decision.
When asked about the plan moving forward, team majority owner Ken Young offered this remark to area media.
“Obviously, that’s a good question,” Young told The Mississippi Press Friday afternoon, “one I don’t have an answer for right now, primarily because I remain hopeful the stadium will be done faster than that.”
Other choices include playing the entire first-half home schedule on the road, which the Brewers are unlikely to accept. Or, and this seems like the best option at this point in time, the move to Biloxi could be pushed back to 2016, given the team has one year remaining on its lease in Huntsville.