I’ve been to Grainger Stadium in Kinston, NC for two Indians games over ten years ago, but I wanted to come back to see the new team added to the Carolina League this year. I wasn’t expecting a large turnout, but they had a pretty good crowd for this game. They were doing a jersey giveaway to the first 1000 fans, and I think there were likely more people than that outside the gates when they opened. They were expecting a big turnout, so they opened the gates a half hour earlier than normal (4:30 for a 6:00 game), but they actually started letting people in at 4:15. My plan to get a ticket at the game took much longer than expected because there were so many people. I was able to get a jersey, but unfortunately they only had adult large by the time I got there, which is not going to fit me.
The game was another close one as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans defeated the Down East Wood Ducks, 4-1. The game was 2-1 going into the 8th inning before the Pelicans added two insurance runs. The starters were two of the leagues ERA leaders, Justin Steele for Myrtle Beach and Richelson Pena for Down East and they both pitched well. I got to see the Cubs top prospect LF Eloy Jimenez drive in the 8th inning runs with a two run double. It was also the last game in the Rangers organization for Down East RF Eduard Pinto as he was traded to the Blue Jays the next day, although on this day he went 0 for 4 and dropped his batting average to .311.
I didn’t ask any of the fans there what there opinion was, but I still think that it would have been better to call the team the Kinston Wood Ducks instead of the Down East Wood Ducks. Although they did have the clever idea to name the mascot Dewd, after the acronym that the team’s name makes.