MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – The Mobile Baybears face a big challenge on the diamond Thursday night when they play the Jacksonville Suns in the first round of the playoffs.
But, they face other challenges off the field as well.
NEXT TO LAST IN LEAGUE ATTENDANCE
The Baybears are getting accustomed to playing in the post season.
They’re also accustomed to low attendance.
In 2014, the Baybears ranked next to last in the ten team Southern League in attendance, with an average attendance of just under 1700 people per game.
They were ahead of only Huntsville, and that team is moving to Biloxi next year.
SPECIAL TICKET PRICING FOR PLAYOFFS
Chris Morgan was named the Mobile Baybears general manager last month.
He and other team officials said the first step to boosting attendance begins Thursday night and continues throughout the playoffs.
Morgan said, “Our goal is, obviously, to get more people in the seats for 2015.”
Justin Baker, the Baybears Director of Broadcasting, said there would be special ticket pricing for the playoffs.
Baker said, “For five dollars, you can come out and sit anywhere you want in the stadium, whether that’s field level or up in the grandstands, or our club level seats as well.”
BACK WITH THE DIAMONDBACKS?
Also, the Baybears should find out by the end of the year if they will continue to be the AA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Morgan said, “It typically comes up near the end of the season, and you start discussions shortly after the season ends, or, even a little bit before the season ends.”
HOPING FOR STADIUM IMPROVEMENTS
Hank Aaron Stadium will be the oldest stadium in the Southern League next year and team officials have said the stadium needs upgrades.
Morgan said, “Some of the improvements that we need to make are really more related to bringing the stadium up to minor league and Major League Baseball standards: the lighting, the drainage on the field, and things like that.”
But, after receiving more than $150,000 from the City of Mobile this year, there’s no money for the Baybears in next year’s proposed budget.
Still, Morgan said the team has a good partnership with the city.
He said, “We’ve got to do a better job from an organizational standpoint to bring awareness to the Baybears and to get more fans to the ballpark, for the playoffs, 2015, and beyond.”
One thing the Baybears won’t have to worry about this year, or for a few years down the road: the team is contractually committed to Mobile through the year 2022.