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The GrunkleGuru

Grunkle is a slang term for the thick rough on a golf course that I have been using for many years. Given my penchant for inaccurate tee balls, I have become a bit of a guru out of the thick stuff, hence the name. This is a site for my random thoughts about sports (espeically golf) and life in general. While nothing special, it will hopefully offer a break from the daily drudgery for both you and me.

April 15, 2005

Grasshopper's New Home - I Just Don't Know

Went to my first Greensboro Grasshoppers game last night, and my review is mixed at best.

In the spirit of full disclosure I should let you all know that I am a resident of Aycock Historic District. I can see the War Memorial scoreboard from my backyard, and my opinion of the decision to build the new stadium falls along the lines of those posted by the Dynamic Davids (Wharton & Hoggard). I was against the plan, but once we lost the vote, I decided that I would continue to support minor league baseball in Greensboro.

The new ballpark is beautiful. From an appearance standpoint it is striking, and well laid out with many concession stands, a wide concourse, and vastly improved restrooms. Additionally, I love the new Grasshopper uniforms (I'd link to a picture, but could not find one on their site). I hate the name, but the uni’s harken back to the 40’s & 50’s style uniforms. Very classy. All that being said, I do have some problems with the stadium.

- A disconnect with the field. In War Memorial, you felt like you were a part of the action, no matter where you sat in the stadium. In the new stadium you feel so far away from everything.

- I don’t like the fact that the visiting team is on the first base line. I know it sounds silly, but one of the great things about the old stadium was that the opposing team had to warm up near the grand stand. The heckling opportunity that this created was great in terms of building a connection between the fans and the team.

- Sight lines are bad unless you have a seat. This is the one factor that really bothered me. We met up with friends to enjoy the game and a couple of beers. We decided to sit in the patio area, and you could not see anything besides the right fielder. I don’t know if there is a solution to this, but it goes back to a feeling of disconnect between the players and the fans.

Like I said, the stadium is beautiful, and I will continue to support the team. I just have a sneaky suspicion that it will turn into the same type of situation that you had in War Memorial stadium. Once the novelty wears off you will have your die-hards who will continue to support the team, the people who show up for Thirsty Thursday, and that’s it.

In order for this to succeed, they need to be able to draw new fans that will continue to support the team. One way for this to happen is to put a quality product out on the field (I realize that there is limited control over this aspect as the Marlins make personnel decisions). Additionally, there needs to be heavy media coverage (which I don’t see happening). Finally, in minor league baseball it is all about entertainment, and typically the game is secondary. From what I saw they are doing nothing new to get the fans involved, and if that does not change then I can assure you that this venture will not meet forecasts and expectations.

Enough soapbox time for today.

2 Comments:

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Gr8tful Coach said...

Guru,
Glad to hear you went to a game. I know this issue is hard on your neighborhood. Hopefully the wounds are healing.

I,too,was disappointed with the view from the picnic areas. Unless your along the rail, you can't see the field from the tables. We cut our visiting short in order to get back to our seats and see the game.

I really like the new stadium, and I hope others in your neighborhood will give it a chance.

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger The Grunkle Guru said...

Coach:

Thanks for reading. Like I said, I do like the stadium, but I think they missed the boat with the people that the city is trying to attract, young professionals.

It's just my opinion, but the social areas should have better sight lines.

 

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