10 to Watch 2020: Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
By Liz Moomey
KANNAPOLIS — There’s now a countdown to April 16 for the city’s newly renamed minor league baseball team — the Cannon Ballers.
That date is when the newly renamed team will throw out the first pitch at its new downtown stadium.
Ahead of the first home game the team and staff are transitioning from the Kannapolis Intimidators Stadium off of Moose Road to the Kannapolis Sports & Entertainment Venue.
The Cannon Ballers hope to start their season off better than they did on April 8, 1995, when the team, then the Piedmont Phillies, started at a newly built stadium. That day, attendees had to use portable bathrooms. The concession stands, locker rooms and staff offices weren’t completed until later in the season.
Vince Marcucci, assistant general manager of the Cannon Ballers, said the ballpark construction is 85% completed. This opening will be different, Marcucci said.
“It will be the best entertainment experience for our fans,” he said.
There may be things that come up as the stadium opens, but the ballpark will be a clean, family-friendly, safe environment, he said. The Cannon Ballers are set on providing the best place for community-focused, affordable family-fun, he said. The stadium will have a video board and a downtown view.
Surrounding the ballpark will be new businesses — some of which have already opened their doors, including Old Armor Beer Company.
“We’re really excited to be the catalyst for downtown Kannapolis,” Marcucci said.
Until game day, the Cannon Ballers will continue to prepare and celebrate the upcoming season. This month, the team will have the grand opening of their front office at the Kannapolis Sports & Entertainment Venue. Group tickets will go on sale. The team’s mascot will be named, too.
The Cannon Ballers hope to create a foundation to expand their charitable work, not just be a baseball team, Marcucci said. The team will be partnering with the community and workforce development programs to give young adults experiences. That could include being in the kitchen to learn about the culinary world or in the kids zone to learn about child care. The Cannon Ballers will continue to give people their first job and continue creating lifelong memories, Marcucci said.
On April 16, the Cannon Ballers will take on the West Virginia Power.