Review by Gary
Since its completion in 1949, ten MLB teams have had affiliates play at Grainger Stadium. While there have been 24 seasons where there was no professional baseball played here, the Kinston Indians enjoyed the longest stretch of occupancy from 1978 to 2011. After the Indians relocated, there was another six-year absence from pro baseball. The Low-A Down East Wood Ducks began play at Grainger in 2018 and show no signs of leaving.
The stadium has a seating capacity of 4,100 fans. Vintage metal-girder light stanchions rise high above the wood topped, metal-framed grandstand. A majority of the supporting structure is brick and steel, and support columns result in a few partially obstructed views.
One cool feature is a rarely seen, tiered combination of front row seating, small grass berm and then picnic tables down the first base line, giving fans a choice of viewing options that are up close and personal.
Kinston's Historic Grainger Stadium is the Carolina League's second oldest ballpark. The stadium has been renovated and refurbished several times over the years, most recently before the start of the 2003 season. In 2018, the "Mother Earth Pavilion," was added as a two-story hospitality structure down the right field line.
Research found that “Down East” is a local phrase used to describe this part of North Carolina. Matthew, the kindly gentleman who showed me around the ballpark, informed me that the team’s mascot is creatively named Dewd (for Down East Wood Ducks).
The team’s president chose Down East rather than Kinston in order to represent the fans who will root for the team from all over eastern North Carolina, not just those in town. Fan voting could have been different. The team could have ended up as one of the other two finalists: The Down East HamHawks or Down East Hogzillas. Party on, Dewd!