For years, the Charlotte Knights have sought a new, uptown ballpark.
The Triple-A team has the site picked out, signing a lease with Mecklenburg County two years ago that called for the team to build a new stadium in Charlotte's Third Ward.
Litigation has held up even the ground breaking, leaving the Knights playing in Fort Sill, S.C., which is about 20 miles south of Charlotte.
The stadium isn't old — it was built in 1990 — but the Knights would like to move closer to the central population base in Charlotte.
Charlotte's attendance had increased in each of the last five seasons, but this year, the Knights' attendance has dropped sharply.
Going into Friday's home game, Charlotte was averaging 4,048 per game, which ranked last in the International League. Thursday's game drew 2,427.
Like the Oklahoma City RedHawks' agreement with the Texas Rangers, Charlotte's player development contract (PDC) with the Chicago White Sox expires at the end of this season.
Last month, a group headed by Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg bought the Texas Rangers, virtually assuring the Rangers-RedHawks partnership would not be renewed.
After more than 30 years of having their Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, the Rangers are expected to pair with Round Rock. Ryan also owns that team.
Neither RedHawks officials nor any officials from major league teams can comment on possible affiliation changes until early September.
The White Sox might be among the teams looking for a new affiliate for next year. They could be interested in Oklahoma City.
While the White Sox don't have front office connections to Oklahoma City like Milwaukee, the American League team might want to move its affiliate a bit closer.
The team's minor league field coordinator, Nick Capra, played baseball at OU and for the old 89ers for all or part of seven seasons.
Like the Brewers and many other teams, the White Sox Triple-A affiliate has been a revolving door. Granted, Charlotte and the White Sox have been partners since 1999. Before that, though, the Sox top minor-league affiliate was located in Calgary (1998), Nashville (1994-97), Sacramento (1988-93), Hawaii (1987), Buffalo (1985-86) and Denver (1983-84).
Player development contracts can be either two- or four-year terms.
There is a window of just less than a month for teams to change affiliation once the season ends.
After the end of the regular season, minor league teams must notify the leagues if they seek reaffiliation.
The minor league office then notifies the major league clubs which teams seek a change in affiliation and vice-versa.
Beginning Sept. 16, clubs may begin negotiating for new affiliations and enter into agreements.
If clubs on both sides haven't agreed to an affiliation by October, the league offices will assign affiliations.