Part of spring training for the Chicago White Sox will take place in North Carolina, as the franchise has scheduled an exhibition against its top farm team, the Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League), for April 3.
Charlotte Knights General Manager of Baseball Operations Scotty Brown, along with White Sox Director of Player Development Nick Capra, made the joint announcement at BB&T Ballpark on Tuesday.
“This is a great way to kick off our second season at BB&T Ballpark,” said Knights Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski. “We are very pleased to welcome the Chicago White Sox to Uptown Charlotte. This is an opportunity for our fans to see some former Knights who are now playing for the White Sox and to see a competitive game against our parent club.”
The White Sox and Knights last faced off in exhibition play at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C. on April 1, 2010. In all, the Knights and White Sox have played two exhibition games over the course of their 16-year affiliation. The Knights hosted the White Sox during the first season of their affiliation in 1999.
“We are very excited for the Chicago White Sox to travel to Charlotte and help open the second season of BB&T Ballpark, one of the finest facilities in Minor League Baseball,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “Charlotte is a first class city with a first-class venue and the Knights have served as an outstanding Class AAA affiliate to our major-league club since 1999. Every spring, we explain to our roster that it takes far more than 25 men for any team to win a championship, and for the White Sox much of that talent comes through Charlotte each summer.”
Since 1999, Chicago has supplied the on-field talent to Charlotte, making it the fourth longest current affiliation agreement in the Triple-A International League behind the Pawtucket Red Sox (1973 first year with Boston), the Toledo Mud Hens (1987 first year with Detroit), and the Durham Bulls (1998 first year with Tampa Bay). The Knights and White Sox extended their affiliation for an additional six seasons on December 10, 2013. The Knights and White Sox partnership will stay intact through the 2020 season.
The Charlotte Knights opened their inaugural season at BB&T Ballpark on Friday, April 11, 2014 to a sell-out crowd of 10,231 fans. It was the first professional baseball game played in Charlotte for the Knights since the final home game of the 1988 season on August 31, 1988. The 2015 exhibition game will be the first time a Major League team will play in the city limits of Charlotte since April 12, 1984 when the Charlotte O’s hosted the Baltimore Orioles.