Kannapolis, North Carolina
Posted by graywacke on July 19, 2013
First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much an every-third-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.
Landing number 2036; A Landing A Day blog post number 454.
Dan – Staying within striking distance of 150 with this USer landing in . . . NC; 35/36; 4/10; 2; 150.6. Here’s my regional landing map:
My close-in landing map shows that I landed right in the city of Kannapolis:
Kannopolis isn’t far from Charlotte. Here’s an expanded landing map:
Back to Kannopolis, here’s a very close-in Google Earth (GE) shot, showing that I landed right along the front edge of a house in a neighborhood!
You can only imagine my excitement, when I clicked on the StreetView tool (hoping that McLain Road, next to my landing, had coverage). Come on, come on . . . drat! No StreetView near my landing. Here’s an expanded GE view, with the StreetView coverage in blue:
I landed near an unnamed tributary of Cold Creek. This tributary (which probably has a local name that I just couldn’t find) runs under a road near my landing. Here’s a StreetView shot:
The tributary continues on to flow into Lake Concord (see landing map – it’s the nearby unnamed lake). See Center Grove Road? Here’s a StreetView shot looking northwest from the bridge over the lake:
Anyway, the tributary flows into Cold Creek, which flows into a new river (for me), the Rocky, which flows to the Pee Dee (9th hit).
As you know, I keep track of all things landing, especially related to the watersheds. OK, here we go: 1) The Rocky is my 1122nd river; 2) This was my 35th stream or river named Rock or Rocky; 3) Cold Water Creek was my 6th stream or river with the word “Cold” in it; 4) Cold Water Creek was also my 28th “Blank Water” stream, with Cold Water joining such dignitaries as Sweetwater, Saltwater, Freshwater, Bitterwater, Stillwater, Clearwater, Whitewater, Redwater, Blackwater, Highwater, Fallingwater, Runningwater, and (my all-time favorites), Badwater and Stinkingwater.
So, what about Kannapolis? Undoubtedly, its main claim to fame is that it’s the hometown of the Earnhardt clan of NASCAR fame. Grandfather Ralph, father Dale Sr. and grandson Dale Jr.
Dale Jr. is quite famous & well known in his own right (and quite the NASCAR driver and entrepreneur). But his late father Dale Sr. is the really famous one. From Wiki:
Considered one of the best NASCAR drivers of all time, Earnhardt won a total of 76 races over the course of his career, including one Daytona 500 victory in 1998. He earned 7 NASCAR Winston Cup Championships, which is tied for the most all time with Richard Petty. His aggressive driving style earned him the nickname “The Intimidator”.
Check out my closer-in landing map again, and look just south of my landing. See Dale Earnhardt Blvd?
Of course, the Boulevard isn’t the only Dale Earnhardt tribute in town. There’s a minor league baseball team with an Earnhardt connection, as explained by Wiki:
The Intimidators franchise moved to Kannapolis in 1995 from Spartanburg, South Carolina, where they had been a Class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Debate raged in the Kannapolis area over what to name the team, with team officials finally decided to call the team the Piedmont Phillies for the 1995 season.
[Bad choice, in my opinion. Nothing wrong with the “Phillies” part of it, but Piedmont? I don’t think so. I’ll have a little more to say about Piedmont later.]
A name-the-team contest in the fall of 1995 drew thousands of entries, and team officials settled on the Kannapolis Boll Weevils as the team’s new name, indicative of Kannapolis’ history as a textile mill town (Kannapolis natives are even called “lintheads”).
[Boll Weevils is an improvement over Piedmont, I think. More about boll weevils in a bit. But I really love “lintheads.” Too bad they didn’t name the team The Lintheads!]
After the 2000 season (when NASCAR racing legend Dale Earnhardt purchased a share in the team’s ownership), the name was changed to the Kannapolis Intimidators, in honor of Earnhardt’s legendary nickname (and the team switch affiliation from the Phillies to theWhite Sox).
Earnhardt, who drove the #3 car in NASCAR, was killed in an accident at the Daytona 500 in February 2001. The team officially retired jersey number 3 on May 15, 2002, in memory of their former co-owner.
As some of my readers are aware (and as I have mentioned once before when I landed near Fitzgerald GA, in Ben Hill County), my son Ben Hill is a writer for MLB.com, covering minor league baseball. He writes a light-hearted blog, “Ben’s Biz Blog” that emphasizes the business of running a Minor League franchise, covering items like whacky promotions, team logos and new stadiums. Ben goes on frequent road trips, visiting Minor League ballparks all around the country, which he, of course, writes about. Just Google Ben’s Biz Blog to find his site (or click HERE).
Anyway, I searched his blog for Kannapolis, and sure enough, Ben has covered the team on numerous occasions.
And, the big story on Action News. . . er, Ben’s Biz Blog . . . is Daniel Wagner and the bat attack. One might think (this being baseball and all) that the “bat” would be of the hardwood variety designed for hitting baseballs. But no . . .
Ben was visiting the Winston-Salem Dash, when he saw the following scoreboard announcement of the next batter, one Daniel Wagner:
Now, I’ll proceed to Ben’s story, from his blog:
Yes, [Wagner] was attacked by a bat and somehow lived to tell the tale. During our interview yesterday I couldn’t resist asking about this incident, and what follows is a Ben’s Biz Blog exclusive:
I remember it like it was yesterday. We were in Kannapolis; I was playing second base and Sally [Tyler Saladino] was at shortstop. There were all these bats swooping down and flying around, and I looked over at Sally, like “Do you see these bats? They’re getting really close!”
Scene of the Crime
Two or three pitches later, two bats landed on the second base side of the pitcher’s mound. I said to Sally, “Dude, they’re right there!” He was just laughing. So then Ryan Buch threw a pitch, and as soon as it popped in the catcher’s mitt both bats take off and start flying right at me. I thought one of them was going to hit me in the face, but I dodged it. I forget who the runner on second base was, but I turned to him and asked “Did you see that?”
He just said “Bro, there’s one on your leg!”
And it was! It was clamped on my leg, so I swiped it off with my glove and it ended up on the ground opening and closing its mouth at me. I could see the fangs. It was super-creepy, worse than a spider or a rat, just nasty. I took off running, and that’s when I think the fans noticed what was happening. A lot of them were laughing, and from then on sometimes people would call me ‘Batman.’ It was just wild.
I think I do have a [bat] phobia now, those things creep me out. Of all the strange things that I’ve seen happen on a baseball field, having a bat land on me was obviously number one.
For the record, a fear of bats is officially known as “chiroptophobia.” That would be a mighty strange reason to have to go on the disabled list, but fortunately Wagner has been able to persevere. I thank him for sharing his story.
I would love to be able to provide additional animal attack tales from the Minor League trenches, as well as strange stories in general. If you’ve got something to share, well, you know where to find me.
Ben also blogged about the roll-out of a new Intimadators logo:
Here’s what he had to say:
Players will only sport the logo during what the team refers to as “Dale Earnhardt-related occasions”. But given Earnhardt’s legendary status among NASCAR’s huge legion of fans, this is a mark that should resonate far outside of the local market.
Here, Earnhardt’s son Kerry (himself a race car driver) models the new look:
As promised (threatened?), here’s a little about the piedmont (which is technically known by geologists as a physiographic province). Here’s a map, showing the extent of the Piedmont:
Basically, the Piedmont is a geologic region between the low-lying coastal plain and the Appalachian Mountains. It’s a hodge-podge geologically speaking, but is dominated by two geologic features:
(1) the highly-weathered remains of ancient mountain ranges (with rocks between 500 million and a billion years old), and
(2) much younger rocks composed of sediments that were deposited in basins formed as the ancestral Atlantic Ocean was opening up (a mere 250 million years ago).
For the record, I live in and amongst the NJ version of Piedmont rocks, type (2). Anyway, Piedmont was a bad name for an airline (the precursor to U.S. Airways) and it’s a bad name for a North Carolina baseball team.
OK, I can’t resist this little factoid. As you can imagine, there must be spots in the Piedmont where the really old rocks butt up against the much younger rocks. Well, just 20 or so miles northwest of where I live in NJ, along the Delaware River in PA is a very cool spot. You stand along the river road (Route 611), with your back to the river. To the right, you see a large outcropping of gray rocks, (Cambrian-aged dolomites, about 600 million years old). In front of you is a small valley, which runs along a fault. To the left is a large outcropping of red rocks (Triassic-aged), about 250 million years old. The fault represents a time gap of 350 million years!
Here’s a map from the PA Geologic survey, showing the location of the fault that separates the two rock formations:
The green stuff is Triassic; the purple is Cambrian. The fault (known as the Monroe Border Fault) moved pretty much vertically more than 5 miles! Here’s a geologic cross-section, showing the rocks near the fault. The Triassic side of the fault moved downward as the Triassic sediments were deposited:
Erosion (that great equalizer), acting through millions of years, made the topography pretty much the same on either side of the fault.
Enough Piedmont geology! Moving right along to Boll Weevils. From Wiki:
The boll weevil is a small beetle that feeds on cotton buds and flowers. Thought to be native to Central America, it migrated into the United States from Mexico in the late 19th century and had infested all U.S. cotton-growing areas by the 1920s, devastating the industry and the people working in the American south. Beginning in1978, the Boll Weevil Eradication Program in the U.S. allowed full-scale cultivation to resume in many regions.
A peculiar name for a baseball team, but I like it!
Moving right along . . . here’s a shot of the old-school Gem Theater in downtown Kannapolis (Panoramio photo by Kevin Childress):
I’ll close with a photo of the warmly human Dale Earnhardt statue right in town (GE Panoramio, by jtdancy):
That’ll do it.
© 2013 A Landing A Day