The play on the field by your Hawks has been pretty good. Newcomer Pierre LePage has a great name and a nice bat and glove as well. He is leading our offensive punch in his short stay so far. Corey Martin, one of the 12 returning Hawks players, has found a spot in the bullpen as our closer and has 5 saves in 5 opps. We are even seeing some power this summer from everyone like Brandon May to Richard Jones to Arismendy Alcantara, a guy who looks like he is 5-foot nothing. A nice mix of pitching, offense and defense has allowed us to taste first place for the first time since 2008.
But any of you following the Hawks know much of this. What you may not have observed are the following:
- The Hawks have played 8 home games and we have sold out 5 of them! Yes, Opening Night and July 3rd were expected but we have been lucky with the schedule and have had 3 other sellouts. We are averaging 3,000 fans per game through the first 8 games and are 3rd in the league. In 2007-2009 we finished 5th in the league each year. Not a bad start.
- Our promotions have been pretty fun if I say so myself. Our July 3rd fireworks show was the best Independence Day show since I've been here. Great stuff! Plus the giveaways have been fun, the on-field promos have been great and the fans are really antimated this summer providing a great atmosphere.
- The merchandise store is now on the main concourse and it is reaping some nice sales. The cold weather has helped as we have diminished the blanket and sweatshirt inventory but the location outside of the building and more visible has made our fans happy and that is what we strive to do.
- We have gotten rave reviews about our new Thirsty Thursday in which we have a beer batter every inning through the 7th. In two games we have had 5 beer batter innings and the people seem to love it, although I had my first regular approach me and said that he wanted us to go back to the old way. We'll play it out this summer with the beer batter concept and then reassess.
Our field has had a ton of action on it over the spring and it is showing. We have some hot spots and wear due to concerts, festivals and a lot of baseball on the field. We are going to work with Zamzow's to get the soil rehabilitated so that we can provide a lush green "stage" for you. But this is again something that doesn't get enough attention due to the fact that we really probably need to replace the infield and start all over again this fall. Seed it and let it grow until the spring but we are fighting the battles with other stadium issues and it is tough to keep it up. But we are coming up with solutions and hope that we can provide a better view of the field for you.
When it comes down to it, this blog was meant to be about stadium and possibility of a new one. Memorial Stadium is a nice, adequate ballpark and if July 3rd's crowd was any testament to its usefulness, it is still a great crowd pleaser on the big nights. The July 3rd atmosphere probably reminded people of the 1990s as the wave made an appearance and our operation was running like a top. But the need for more handicapped accessible seats, more seats in general (over 500 SRO tickets were sold) and a facility that as Mayor Dave Bieter says, "Boise deserves the best". As much as I like Memorial Stadium a new facility would add so much to the life of this valley. Think of how great it would to have soccer during the World Cup time frame. Think how cool it would be to ice skate outside (maybe even an outdoor Steelies game?) during the holidays. The plans have been discussed but trust me from an operational standpoint we need a new facility in a big way to provide Boise and the valley "what it deserves".