The Dukes will remain in Alexandria for the 1982 season, according to club President Gene Thomas and Murray Cook, minor league director of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Dukes have played in Alexandria since 1978, first as an independent, then as an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, then as a co-op franchise and this season as the Class A affiliate of the Pirates.
Pittsburgh and Alexandria signed a three-year working agreement last September, which ended Pittsburgh's 13-year affiliation with Salem.
"We have no plans to be anywhere else but Alexandria next year," said Thomas. "We will make money this year, not a whole lot, but we haven't made money before, so we are very pleased."
But he obviously was not pleased with the result of last night's season finale, a 7-5 loss to the Peninsula Pilots, who scored three runs in the eighth inning of a game that almost wasn't played.
The contest was delayed 75 minutes until a decision to play came from Carolina League President Jim Mills. The umpires were hesitant to start the game because of very wet ground in front of the dugouts and in the outfield. But Dukes General Manager Rick Holt persisted, mostly because of a crowd of 907, until Mills was called and he spoke with umpire in chief Chuck Morgan.
"We're pleased with the operation," said Cook. "We have received assurances from Alexandria that improvements will be made on the ball park to bring it up to professional standards."
"The field will be completely redone, an additional 1,000 seats plus more parking facilities will be added," Thomas said. "We're also planning to have steel canopies constructed to make it look more like a stadium . . . and new locker and shower facilities for the players."
Attendance at Four Mile Run Park has improved this year, which makes Thomas optimistic. "We surpassed last season's attendance total (30,140) on July 27 this year," said Thomas. "We should draw close to 40,000 this season."
The Dukes finished last in the Carolina League's second-half season, Manager Mike Toomey's club having a 29-41 record.
Whether Toomey will return next season hasn't been decided, according to Cook.