KINSTON, N.C. -- For the first time since the end of the 2011 season, baseball is returning to Kinston, N.C. and Grainger Stadium.
An agreement was reached where the Texas Rangers will field a high Class A team in the city known for years for its baseball. The team will be part of the Carolina League. It's anticipated the league will also field a newly formed team in Fayetteville, which is part of the Houston Astros.
Kinston has fielded teams in the Carolina League in 1956-57, 1962-74 and 1978-2011. Fayetteville had a team in the Carolina League from 1950-56 and also fielded a team in the South Atlantic League from 1987-2000.
The owners of the Texas Rangers along with the Carolina League expressed excitement about baseball returning to Kinston.
"The Texas Rangers are very happy to be bringing baseball back to the great city of Kinston and we want to thank Minor League Baseball and the Kinston leadership for helping us to make this a reality for 2017," said Texas Rangers Ownership Committee Chairman Neil Leibman in a press release. "We are excited about creating the best fan experience possible at Grainger Stadium, and we look forward to working with the city of Kinston and its residents to make it a top Carolina League franchise."