After several months of deliberating over his future, Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner decided to run for a second four-year term in office. He notified the National Association board of trustees of his decision on May 24, one week before the required deadline.
O’Conner joined Minor League Baseball 19 years ago and spent 12 years as former president Mike Moore’s right-hand man before replacing him in December 2007. He had previously expressed concerns about serving a second term due to differing philosophies with the board of trustees on the direction of the sport.
O'Conner has worked to build the sport's national brand, leading the industry on several endeavors that go beyond teams' individual markets. And while many members of the board previously praised O'Conner's work—which includes extending the Professional Baseball Agreement with Major League Baseball, the launch of the Baseball Internet Rights Co., and overseeing the sport's growth during the recession—they also expressed doubts about some of his big ideas.
I read one of those cute blog posts this morning highlighting all of the pop-culture reasons why you're old, including the fact that the cast of the television show "Boy Meets World" are now all in their early 30s. Does it make me even older if I never heard of "Boy Meets World?"
Apparently, plenty of people in Fresno are familiar with the hit '90s show, as nearly 7,000 fans came out to Chukchansi Park last night for this promotion: Mad Tight 90s Night Meets World, featuring Ben "Cory Matthews" Savage appearance from Boy Meets World.
The biggest draw of the night came in Indianapolis, as the Indians filled Victory Field with 12,565 fans on Education Day and Thursday Value Pack Night—which, for a $15 ticket, included a hot dog, unlimited soda and choice of souvenir item.
Fortunately, my kids don't read this blog and thus won't know that two teams offered Silly Bandz giveaways last night. Otherwise, there would be plenty of clamoring for a road trip to Peoria and Syracuse.
As Always, Thirsty Thursday was the promotion du jour, as 33 of the scheduled 60 games last night offered some variety of the promotion. Two of those games were rained out, leaving 31 Thirsty Thursday games that drew a total of 95,686 fans (or a 3,086 per-game average).
Again, factors other than promotions do impact attendance, like weather (which has been a challenge for many teams this season) and Josh Hamilton minor league starts (Frisco drew 10,998 as the AL MVP made his second rehab start last night).
Below is a list of the scheduled promotions and attendance figures from last night's games.
The weather was pretty miserable throughout much of the Eastern League last night, so perhaps "Richard Simmons Short Shorts Night" in Akron and "Fisher Cats Wing-Off" in New Hampshire could have been even bigger hits with better temperatures. The two promotions still drew 2,508 and 3,177 fans, respectively, close to each team's average attendance.
The Double-A Frisco Roughriders had no promotion for last night listed on their schedule but still drew a minor league-high 8,313 fans. Perhaps they knew all along that Josh Hamilton would be starting a five-game rehab stint.
There were discounted drinks and food aplenty around the minors. The Double-A Mobile BayBears offered $1 glasses of wine for "Ladies Night" while high Class A Modesto Nuts offered $2 vino as part of "Wine Down Wednesday." The best bargain may have been in high Class A Lake Elsinore, where fans could feast on free hot dogs as part of "Wacky Weenie Wednesday." The low Class A Lexington Legends upped the ante a bit by offering "34-Cent Hot Dog Night" and drew 7,861 fans. And the Triple-A Columbus Clippers drew 6,651 on "50-Cent Wing Night."
Below is a complete listing of last night's promotions and attendance figures.
Whether it be a Bark in the Park afternoon, an Awful Night or a Thirsty Thursday, the ultimate goal of minor league promotions is the same: to draw attention to your team and fans to the ballpark.
With that in mind, below is a chart tracking last night's attendance figures and promotions for every minor league baseball team. While promotions certainly impact a team's performance at the gate, they are not the only factor in how a team draws—weather, rehab starts, Stephen Strasburg (last year) and other factors can certainly determine how many fans come through the turnstiles.
The big winner of the day appears to be Triple-A Las Vegas, which sold out Cashman Field (11,001) on an Education Day promotion. Sadly, Double-A Akron's Fish Appreciation Night got washed out.
All but a handful of minor league teams participate in the Kraft Singles Tuesday Night Tickets deal, in which fans can redeem two tickets for the price of one when they bring a wrapper to the ballpark. Minor League Baseball reports that wrapper redemption is up 13 percent compared to last year.
The future of minor league baseball in Scranton looks significantly brighter after new Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett approved a $20 million state grant last week, as part of a $40 million stadium renovation project.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise has been on a years-long quest to spruce up its deteriorating ballpark, which now ranks behind only Buffalo's ballpark as the oldest in the International League. While Buffalo's Coca-Cola Field has been frequently updated in its 23 years, however, PNC Field has not been since opening in 1989.
The state grant gives ballpark renovation efforts a huge boost, though plenty of questions still need resolution—ranging from the status of the team's sale to where the Yankees will play during construction—before it is time to roll out the wrecking ball.
"There are more questions than answers right now," International League president Randy Mobley said. "Hopefully over the next several weeks, we will be able to fill in some of those questions with answers."
The renovation project was put in motion last year when outgoing Gov. Ed Rendell signed off on the $20 million grant from the state's redevelopment fund. Corbett had spent the past four months reviewing the project before approving it.
The Lackawanna County stadium authority will match the grant with $20 million to complete the project. The majority of that money will come from the proceeds of a previously agreed upon $14.6 million sale of the team to SWB Yankees LLC—the entity made up of the New York Yankees and Mandalay Baseball that currently operates the team.
The Double-A Huntsville Stars pushed back today's series-opener against Jacksonville until tomorrow, and will offer free tickets to all local residents. The 11 a.m. game is the team's first home contest since tornadoes rolled through the city last Wednesday.
The team called off today's game for practical and safety issues—the ballpark and most local businesses were without electricity until late Sunday night, Stars general manager Buck Rogers said, and they were concerned about providing adequate housing for visiting players and umpires. Curfews had been in place in Huntsville, and more storms were forecast for today.
While the team was on the road over the weekend, Huntsville opened up Joe W. Davis Municipal Stadium as a sanctuary for relief workers and local residents. Although the ballpark had no electricity, its kitchen—which works off gas heat—remained in working order. The team dished out roughly 8,000 meals, Rogers said, as several local restaurants emptied their freezers and brought food to the ballpark that would have spoiled.
"We had some really good food here," Rogers said. "Nobody was going to starve in this town."
The Stars hope to provide relief to fans once more with the free game tomorrow.
"The best thing we can do is take their minds off of everything going on," Rogers said. "We don't feel right about charging then for (the game). We're going to do one for the community—it's the least we can do for the support they've given us for the last couple of years."
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog