Re: Bakersfield "very unlikely" to get a new stadium
A lot of interesting elements in place here.
Reds would love to see this franchise moved to a high-A league in the east (either the Carolina League or the Florida State League). It would save them dramatically on travel expenses and make it infinitely easier to transfer players in-season to and from this team and Dayton or Pensacola.
The ballpark in Bakersfield does not meet Minor League Baseball's minimum facility standards. What does that mean? Well, MiLB has a code of standards that relate to everything from the number of shower heads in the locker rooms to square footage in those same locker rooms to field lighting and everything else. There are many parks that fail to meet the standards in a few areas. All new parks are built to meet the standards. They have been playing in this park, hoping to get a new stadium built. It sounds as if Minor League Baseball has run out of patience now that another plan has fallen through.
The problem is, there are no other vacant parks that do meet the standards. If there are only 29 available parks that meet standards within the footprint of the three high-A leagues, one team is going to be playing in a park that does not meet standards, and there is not much anyone can do about it.
For the Bakersfield franchise to move to the Carolina League, some other owner also needs to be convinced to move his franchise and he has to be able to get out of his stadium lease. You can't move just one team and leave an odd number of teams in a league or there would be a huge scheduling problem coming out of the condition of one team having to be inactive every night. There is no chance, under any circumstances, of Bakersfield moving unless someone else goes with them. So they need two ballparks in the east.
Kinston and Columbia have been mentioned. Neither is a perfect situation. Kinston has major security issues at their ballpark to the point where a police escort for the team bus was needed at times in the last season there. The neighborhood is too dangerous. There are stories from former employees of the final seasons there that are almost unbelievable (ie: front office staff told to lock the doors of the office and hide following a shooting).
There might be opportunities in the Florida State League if Bakersfield can find a relocation partner. Reds are stuck in the middle of all this.