It was hard to believe, but Buies Creek’s new baseball team was glad to be out of California.
The Buies Creek Astros, a Class A Advanced affiliate of the Houston Astros and the newest member of the Carolina League, start their season Thursday at home against the Winston-Salem Dash.
There was an air of relief when the players, especially those from the Lancaster affiliate, got a look inside Campbell University’s Jim Perry Stadium, their home for the next two seasons. The Astros will share the field with Campbell’s baseball team.
The reason: less wind.
“Lancaster, it’s a ballpark with tough conditions,” said Astros general manager Omar Lopez about the team’s previous home in Lancaster, Calif.
“The wind blows all the way from right field to right-center field,” he said. “Any ball can end up at In-and-Out Burger or on the highway, so yeah, it was crazy. That league was just for hitters and this league, I hear, is for pitchers.”
The Astros, who opted to leave the California League according to the team website, arrived in North Carolina as part of realignment between the California and Carolina Leauges. In 2019, their permanent home will be at a new stadium in Fayetteville, whose downtown is about 35 miles away from Buies Creek.
The turf field at Jim Perry had the Astros pitchers talking.
“It’s great any time you get to play on turf; it’s good for pitchers. A lot of easy ground balls, nothing going to kick up, so we’ll see,” said Astros pitcher Riley Ferrell, who played in Lancaster for one month.
“That’s a little bit exciting that the wind is not howling straight out,” he said.
Jim Perry was renovated in 2012 and has the capacity to fit 1,000, with 630 seats.
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
Buies Creek Astros vs. Winston-Salem Dash
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Jim Perry Stadium, Buies Creek