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Scott on Sports

by Scott Lowery
A Visit with Gabe
 

As the Williamsport Crosscutters’ season heads into its final month and the anticipation for the August 20 Pittsburgh Pirates/St. Louis Cardinals game at Bowman Field builds, Crosscutters’ vice president of marketing Gabe Sinicropi shared his thoughts on the season and preparations for the upcoming MLB game.
“This year is definitely different. First, the renovations made our whole operation a lot different and we changed a lot of things due to those renovations. Then, getting ready for the Major League game obviously posed a whole different set of things we had to deal with. It’s been both an off season and a season like none other in the 24 years that we’ve been in Williamsport.”
“As far as day-to-day things, it hasn’t changed too much. But before the season there were a lot of different things we had to get ready for — new things to get used to. However, when you come down to preparing for a game day there haven’t been that many changes. Once we got the new systems in place for what, we as a Crosscutters organization, were doing that was different, it hasn’t changed much. Maybe the only difference is the time that we take with Major League Baseball and its companies to discuss and plan for the August 20 event.”
On fan attendance:
“We are about equal to last year’s attendance. On the face of it, that may seem like that is not so great — all these renovations happened and you’re only drawing the same amount of people. But, the reality of it is, we changed a whole bunch of things in our business. For instance, ‘Pack the Park Nights’ are gone. When you figure in those nights and some other nights when people got into the stadium with free tickets — free to them — the businesses did pay for those promotions, but about 25% of our fans came to Crosscutters’ games with free tickets. That is vastly different this year. So just to equal our attendance from last year we had to sell 25% more tickets. That is what we are doing so the attendance level is similar to last year at about 1,800 per game.
“Did I have a little bit of hope with the renovations and curiosity factor that we would do even better — yes — but we didn’t necessarily plan for it. I had hoped for a little more but what is happening with the attendance is about what we expected. But, we have been successful in replacing the past free customers with ticket buying fans.”
On the Crosscutters team performance:
“Throughout our affiliation with the Phillies, the caliber of people they have sent here has been excellent. This year we are blessed to have a lot of talent. We have more draft picks from this year’s draft than we have ever had. The way it landed for the Phillies in this year, they drafted a lot more college players. In previous years it seemed they picked a lot of high school players who didn’t start out with us. So we have about 15 draft picks from this year’s draft, including the number one pick in Adam Haseley. We have a lot of top prospects on this year’s team that includes high picks from last year and international signings. The team is talented, and if they play up to expectations, we’ll be in the race right up to the end and hopefully get to the postseason.”
On the team’s reaction to the stadium’s upgrades:
“The reaction across the board was, ‘wow’. For those players here for the first time they really couldn’t appreciate the ‘wow’. For the guys that were here before it was double-wow. The first thing they saw was the playing surface and their response was, ‘this is awesome’. They looked around and saw that most everything was bright, shiny and new and looking good. Then, when they saw the dugouts, they were definitely wowed — even the guys who hadn’t seen it before.”
On preparations for August 20:
“Outside the stadium, we have extremely limited parking now. We just ask for fans’ patience and understanding with all the activity underway to get ready for the Major League game. There is a lot going on and it changes every day with more things being built, temporary roadways and lots of parking being taken away. This whole area will be full of things for that event. Unless you are involved in the planning it is hard to grasp what is going to be happening here. It is akin to a traveling circus. It takes a lot longer to build than to tear down. It’s taking weeks to get ready and two days after the game it will all be gone. They are building two clubhouses for the teams, batting cages, putting in a temporary scoreboard in left field and temporary lights.
“Once the Crosscutters play their game on August 13, the work inside the stadium will begin. That will include temporary broadcast booths, temporary walls in our current press box, making a press area out of Section 1 and putting up a video board. There is a lot going into this one, three-hour game that will be telecast on ESPN on August 20.
“Once that game is over we can’t sit back and relax because we have a home game August 22, but there will be a sigh of relief from everybody involved. It is a great event and we are honored to be part of it, but it has been a slight disruption to our normal business operation. But, we will smile as we take that sigh of relief because we were part of something so great.
“We take great pride in this. I can’t wait to see it on DVR when I get home that night. It is great for our ballpark. It is great for Williamsport and Lycoming County. It is a showcase. It is a one-day special event and more than just an extension of what goes on for ten days with the Little League World Series. I think the telecast will include background on our field and other things, so the telecast will be a different perspective than what happens with the Little League World Series. It is going to be fantastic for the area.”

 
 
 
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