You know baseball season is getting closer when the Hoppers host their annual community yard sale and start selling tickets for individual games. Today was the day for both of these events. I got up early this morning, and my wife and I headed out to the park to check it out.
It was pretty cool. Upon arriving at the ballpark, we made a beeline for the free Biscuitville biscuits. Biscuits are a great way to start the day and free biscuits are an even better way. They also had pocket-sized schedules, so I picked up one of them. Biscuit in hand, we headed inside to check out the yard sale. They had the vendors set up in the concourse behind home plate. Vendors ranged from the Hoppers themselves (who were donating their proceeds to charity), to people selling jewelry and crafts, to people selling typical yard sale items. I checked out the Hoppers table especially, hoping to find some old promotional items that were interesting, but nothing struck my fancy.
After checking out the yard sale, we headed back outside to check out the ticket line. It was pretty long (as the picture to the right shows) and full of people excited to get tickets to the Marlins game.
Sadly, I’m not going to be able to go to the Marlins game. Not-so-sadly, the reason I won’t be going is that I’ll be returning from a mission trip in Costa Rica with the youth at my church. Even though I wasn’t going to be at the Marlins game, I wanted to buy the seat next to my season ticket for Opening Day and July 4 for my wife. The line was long enough that I decided not to wait in it at that point, so we ran a few errands. After running our errands, we swung back by the ballpark and the line had diminished to the point that I was comfortable waiting. I don’t know how long I waited in line, but it wasn’t very long. I had a great time chatting with other fans in line, sharing excitement about the upcoming season.
When I got to the ticket window, I found out that they’re not selling the seat next to my season ticket yet. There are a handful of seats still unsold next to my seat and they’re holding them in case someone else decides to buy it as a season ticket. That totally makes sense, and I wasn’t too disappointed by it, especially since Kate (the ticketing director) told me that she’d give me a call closer to Opening Day when the tickets get released for general sale. Fair enough, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t get sold as season tickets between now and then.
It was a great way to spend the morning, and I continue to look forward to Opening Day!
Today was an exciting day at the ballpark. They had a press conference to welcome the new Hoppers manager, Andy Haines. The picture on the left is him granting an interview after the press conference was over.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a press conference before, so I was pretty excited to see how it would work. It was open to the public, so I decided to head over to the ballpark and check it out. I tweeted about it real-time over on @HoppersFan. The conference was scheduled for 10:00 and I showed up a few minutes before then. When I walked into the gift shop, where the conference was being held, I noticed that not many people had arrived. They had set up a small podium on a table, with a Greensboro Grasshoppers backdrop behind it. Sadly, the pictures I took of that were too blurry to include here. They had several rows of chairs set up for the audience. In the back of the room, they even had a little food table set up. I grabbed a danish, some fruit, and tasty cup of coffee.
Over the next few minutes, some more people wandered in and the room was pretty comfortably filled by the time they started the press conference. I don’t know the name of man who spoke first, but he welcomed everyone and gave Andy a short introduction. The Hoppers website has a nice story about Andy and other members of the field staff that has some good background information. When Andy stepped behind the podium, he appeared very relaxed and confident.
Andy made a brief statement, saying that he was excited and flattered to be part of the Grasshoppers organization. He immediately addressed the question on everyone’s mind: who’s going to be in the lineup? His answer is that the lineup is not set yet, but there are a lot of good prospects for Greensboro. He promised that the team will be an exciting team to watch.
After making his statement, Andy took questions from the floor. He talked about the relationships he already has with other members of his managing and coaching staff. He speculated about what players might return, noting that “it will be a dogfight in Spring Training” to secure spots throughout the Marlins organization. Someone asked what would be considered a success for the Grasshoppers vs. Marlins game, which elicited some chuckling from everyone in the room. Andy’s response was that we’re playing to win and that in baseball, anything can happen. He noted that one of his primary jobs as manager is to properly pace the players – to make sure they have appropriate amount of time off, etc. Someone asked him about the possibility of having two catchers and his response was that he’d love to have three, but doesn’t think the Marlins would let him. He said with three catchers, he’d be able to DH one of them.
At that point, the questions seemed to dwindle and they wrapped up the press conference. A couple of the reporters queued up to conduct some one-on-one interviews with Andy and I wondered around taking a few (blurry) pictures. My season ticket rep, Kate, came over and said hi. She pointed out that most of the people at the press conference that weren’t with the media were part of the Boosters organization. On my way out, Allison Moore (Director of Special Events & Hoppin’ Fun) introduced herself to me. She said that she had checked out this blog and that it was nice to have a fan’s perspective out there. Well, that’s what I’m doing – just putting one fan’s perspective out there.
The press conference was a lot of fun, but it made me even more excited for baseball season to start! Opening Day for the Hoppers is 40 days away.
Yesterday, I bought a season ticket for the 2010 season. I’ll be attending as many games as I can this year, and when I do, I’ll be sitting in Section 104, Row Q, Seat 1. It’s an aisle seat, so I’ll be able to easily stretch out my leg if I need to. It’s behind the Hoppers dugout, high enough so that I’ll be able to see over the dugout net for most of the action on the field. I’m really excited about it.
This is my first year as a season ticket holder, so I wasn’t entirely sure what was involved with getting a ticket. My account representative is Kate, and she’s as nice as can be. I initially talked to her in December to find out about ticket options. She gave me all sorts of information about the different options that are available. It gave me some things to think about. Then, the holidays came and I got really busy. I never followed up about getting a ticket. Kate emailed me earlier this week to see if I was still interested in a ticket. I got back in touch with her and arranged to come by the ballpark yesterday afternoon to talk about the details.
I arrived at the ballpark and was quickly met by Kate, who had a big chart that showed which seats were already sold and which ones were still available. We headed out to the stands and I walked around, sitting in several seats, trying to decide what area I wanted to sit in. I knew I wanted to be in the infield area on the third base side, mostly because that section gets the shade quicker. On hot summer days, that will be a big plus. Several rows still had aisle seats available, so I quickly gravitated to checking those out. The first seat I previewed was on Row H, and had a great view of the field, but I was looking through a net on top of the dugout. That was pretty distracting, so I went further up in the section and checked out the view from Row Q. The third baseline was still partially obscured by the net, but the rest of the field looked great. This is the seat I decided on, and I think I’m going to be extremely happy watching games from that vantage point.
After making that decision, Kate and I headed back to the Hoppers Yard gift shop to finalize all the paperwork. Kate also reviewed some of the other perks associated with being a season ticket holder: the opportunity to buy tickets to the Marlins-Hoppers exposition game before they go on sale to the public, a meet-n-greet opportunity with the team a few weeks before the season starts, and a few other interesting perks. I’ll be writing all about them as the season progresses.
Kate tells me that I will be receiving a booklet with all my tickets sometime in the next few weeks, as well as start receiving email notifications and newsletters from the team. I’m excited about it — only 56 more days until Opening Day!
Here’s the view from my seat: