Posts Tagged ‘Harrison Square’

Padres Brass Thoughts on TinCaps, Parkview Field

Stumbled upon a couple items from SanDiego Padres front office folks. Here’s what they say:

Kevin Towers

“The ballpark is absolutely beautiful. It’s probably one of the nicest Class A ballparks in all of baseball. And I really think what it’s going to do for this downtown area as well, we kind of experienced that in 2004 in San Diego,” he said. “It kind of revitalized the downtown area and with the convention center and hopefully eventually the hotel and the condos in the outfield, I think it will bring some life around the ballpark.

“They did it right. From the scoreboard to the playing surface and just listening to the fans talk around here, it sounds like everybody is having a good time and enjoying it. For our ball players, it’s huge. To be able to come to work every day in a place like this makes you want to go out and play. With the type of support, more fans in the stands, it’s great for our young players” [LaMond Pope].

Paul DePodesta

The TinCaps seem to have adjusted well to their new name and new stadium. James Darnell leads the Midwest League with a .541 obp and his overall line is .304/.541/.609. Additionally, Matt Clark, Allan Dykstra, and Blake Tekotte all got it going to some degree this week. The real story in Ft Wayne, though, has been the pitching. Of the 13 pitchers on the staff, seven of them still have an ERA of 0.00, and the team as a whole is sporting a 1.30. Of the starters, Anthony Bass and Stiven Osuna have yet to give up a run in 22 combined innings of work. The bullpen as a unit: 0.89 ERA, 41.2 ip, 20 h, 8 bb, and 50 k’s [It Might Be Dangerous... You Go First].

TinCaps Tix On Sale Today, Team is Hiring

From the TinCaps’ newsletter:

The Fort Wayne TinCaps individual game tickets will be available for purchase starting at 10:00am EST on Tuesday, February 24th. The TinCaps offer three options when purchasing tickets for the 2009 season.
PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE

The TinCaps have partnered with Streamline Ticketing, a Nashville, Tennessee-based technology firm, to create a customer-friendly online ticket purchasing experience. First, fans will select their desired game date. Then fans will be able to select their exact section, row and seat with the TinCaps interactive Parkview Field ballpark diagram. Once fans have selected their desired seats, the third and final step will be completing the transaction by selecting their preferred payment option. An additional feature allows fans to print their tickets at home. Save time and select your specific seats, all from the comfort of your computer. The TinCaps online ticketing system will go live at TinCaps.com at 10:00am EST on Tuesday, February 24th.

PURCHASE TICKETS BY PHONE

The TinCaps will also be accepting ticket orders by phone beginning at 10:00am EST. Call the TinCaps administrative office at (260) 482-6400 to purchase your tickets.

PURCHASE TICKETS IN PERSON

If purchasing your tickets online or by phone on the 24th is not an option, the TinCaps will be setting up a temporary ticket office at the Grand Wayne Center on Tuesday, February 24th beginning at 10:00am EST. This temporary ticket office will be available Tuesday only from 10:00am till 5:00pm. Any walk-up ticket transactions after the 24th will take place at the TinCaps newly completed Administrative Offices located at 1301 Ewing Street, at Parkview Field. Please call (260) 482-6400 for directions and parking instructions while the final stages of construction at Parkview Field are still in progress.

TinCaps Job Fair – Saturday, February 28th
10:00am – 2:00pm  at the Grand Wayne Center – Fort Wayne

The Fort Wayne TinCaps will be hosting the team’s 2009 Job Fair at the Grand Wayne Center on Saturday, February 28th. The event, which will begin at 10:00am and run until 2:00pm, will take place in the Calhoun Room, located on the 2nd floor of the Grand Wayne Center, located in downtown Fort Wayne, directly across from the North Entrance to Parkview Field.

In response to increased staffing needs at the soon to be completed Parkview Field, the TinCaps are looking to fill over 200 seasonal and part-time positions during the team’s Job Fair on February 28th. “We are expanding the level of customer service at Parkview Field, both during games and at additional special events,” said team Vice President, Brian Schackow. “Our staffing needs have escalated for the 2009 season and we looking for qualified individuals to join our part-time and seasonal staff. There are a wide variety of positions available. We encourage anyone interested in applying to come by the Grand Wayne Center on February 28th.”

The TinCaps are looking for applicants in the following categories: Ushers, Ticket Takers, Parking Lot Attendants, Ticket Office Sales, Merchandise Sales, Video Production, In-Game Promotions, Field Maintenance, Special Events, Food Preparation and Service Staff. Applicants must be 16 years of age or older. Certain positions require specific skills and previous experience. Most positions do not require previous experience.

Applicants that are not available to attend the Job Fair are welcome to stop by the TinCaps Administrative Offices located at Parkview Field during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm). Please call (260) 482-6400 for directions and parking information.

Parkview Field Rendering and Logo

Parkview Field at Harrison Square Rendering & Logo
Parkview Field at Harrison Square Rendering & Logo

The Parkview Field logo was released to the public today. Seen here on the rendering of Parkview Field at Harrison Square, Fort Wayne TinCaps General Manager Mike Nutter commented during the press conference that it is the work of local advertising agency, Boyden & Youngblutt. B&Y is also the agency of record for Parkview.

Wizards to TinCaps – My Take

Please indulge me for a moment. I don’t make it a regular practice to use this blog for offering my opinion. The overall mission of BBIFW is to provide a historical archive of the way it happened and happens. That means honest and true reporting of facts and commentary from others. In a sense, I am an outsider looking in as I provide you with content.

Fort Wayne TinCapsBut there are occasions where I am compelled to offer my personal opinion. Most of the time, I can shake the compulsion and go on with life. Then, there are times when I allow my ego to take control and actually convince me that someone might care about my opinon. I guess there is a spark of that in every blogger or we probably wouldn’t be blogging, eh?

Anywho, I first learned of the TinCaps name from an acquaintenance who is totally unassociated with the Wizards/TinCaps and Minor League Baseball. That person did some real digging and found it. The story continues, but it’s not my place to tell it.

My initial reaction was that of utter disgust. I sincerely hoped I was being played for a fool.

To explain why, allow me to backtrack just a bit. When the team naming contest was announced, my first thought was that of fear and aprehension. I mean, this is my local team. This is the team I talk to people about. People who live in the area and people who do not. I really wanted a name I could talk about without concern for corniness.

Fort Wayne TinCapsMy second thought – and I am not making this up – was “Dear God, please don’t let it be assocated with Johnny Appleseed.” No disrespect to Mr. Chapman and his legacy, but it doesn’t exactly spell progress and new eras. Not only that, I knew I would have to explain the signifigance to people any time I said the team name.

Again, no disrespect to Chapman. I mean, it’s great that his legacy will be continued through the name, but come on! I’d rather talk baseball than apples.

Now, fast forward to the official announcement.

Again, my reaction was that of disappointment. I really had hoped it would be something other than the TinCaps. But the logo and branding softened the blow. To be honest, I like the logo and I’m excited to see the logos on the uniforms.

But beyond that, I’m excited to sit in Parkview Field at Harrison Square on Opening Day. I’ll enjoy several selections of food on the new menu that was previously unavailable at Memorial Stadium. I’m looking forward to finding the best sections of seating (and there will be many) to view the games. I’m looking forward to seeing the other teams from throughout the Midwest League come in and play on our home field as I try to predict which of them will make it to the Major Leagues. I’m looking forward to watching my children enjoy the atmosphere as I teach them more about baseball and hopefully transfer my love of the game to them – which they will then someday transfer unto my grandchildren. I’m looking forward to witnessing the 2010 MWL All-Star Game. I’ve gone to a MiLB AS game each of the last three years, but this will be the first time I will get to enjoy the full events of the All-Star Game (FanFests, Home Run Derbies, Games, etc.).

There’s a lot of things that I’m looking forward to doing in this new era. And the above is probably just the beginning. But, from what is detailed above, the one thing that is not mentioned is a team name. I really couldn’t care less. I hated the “Wizards” moniker when it first came out. I never was all that fond of it, but again, I couldn’t really care less about the name. It’s the game I care about.

Fort Wayne TinCapsI have no doubt that the Fort Wayne Wizards thought about their options long and hard (contrary to the OPINIONS of many others). I have no doubt they have made a decision that is in good interest and perhaps even with the best of intentions. No matter what name they selected, there would be naysayers. So who really cares about a name? Sure, it upsets me to know there are going to be idiots who never matured beyond the fourth grade who will refer to my local team as “potheads” and think the tin cap is a reference to crazies, but then again, is being fanatical about a sports team all that far off?

So, with that, let’s play ball and all join in cheering on the TinCaps as they set out to usher in one of the most exciting new eras in Northeast Indiana Baseball that this region has ever seen.

Go TinCaps!

Parkview Field at Harrison Square

Next year’s Low-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres will play at Parkview Field.

Team owners, city officials and Parkview executives announced that Parkview Health has purchased the naming rights for Harrison Square’s baseball stadium in a deal that amounts to $3 million over 10 years.

The $300,000 annual contribution will be split between the baseball team’s owner, Hardball Capital, and the city. The city’s portion will be put into a fund to accumulate money for future capital projects at the stadium. City officials have said this is necessary to keep taxpayers from having to finance future improvements at the ballpark [Journal Gazette].

The health provider will have a large presence in the stadium, where it could provide blood pressure and other health screenings at the park and willstaff the first-aid station and a nursing room. Nutritionists and dieticians will also work with ballpark concessionaires to provide healthy food and drink options.

An e-mail was sent to Parkview Health workers about the decision before the public announcement was to be made. Cathy Dee has posted a segment of this message on her Common Sensibilities blog.

Other ources about today’s naming rights announcement:

On a related note; if you go to ParkviewField.com, it will take you to HarrisonSquareFortWayne.com. Wonder if they will do something more on the domain or if it is simply going to remain a mirror site.

Note: I lifed the image from ParkviewField.com.

Opening Day of a New Era in Fort Wayne Baseball

The innagural season for the ballpark at Harrison Square is set for Thursday, April 16th, 2009 at 7:00pm EST.

“We have been looking forward to April 2009 as the opening month of the first season downtown,” said Mike Nutter, General Manager. “We are excited to be able to officially put a date and time on when the first game will be played in that new ballpark. It’s hard to believe how far the construction has come since the groundbreaking and it will be fun to watch how quickly things come together in the coming months.”

While the specifics of Opening Day ceremonies have not been announced, the team is excited about what the future holds and what the possibilities will be.

“We plan on kicking off the first game, home stand and season downtown in style. We have had tremendous support and encouragement from our new neighbors downtown and we are excited about the possibilities that those relationships bring to the table, ” stated Michael Limmer, Assistant General Manager. “There’s a lot of work to be done between now and April 16th, but having a date to focus on is important for our staff. We have 224 days to get everything ready in order to play ball. We couldn’t be more excited.”

More information on the 2009 schedule will be released when the remainder of dates, times and promotional events have been finalized by the front office staff. For more information on season tickets, group outings or corporate partnerships for the Ballpark at Harrison Square contact the team at (260) 482-6400.

And if you you need a little help visualizing the time to opening day, the Wizards have produced a countdown on their website. I imagine it will migrate over to the new site once a new team name is selected and domain is secured.

The Last Song for Memorial Stadium

Tonight was the last game we’ll ever see the Fort Wayne Wizards take the home field in Fort Wayne. It was also likely the last professional baseball game we’ll ever see played in Memorial Stadium; which is slated to be demolished in 2009 shortly after the yet-to-be-named Fort Wayne team takes the field for the inaugural season at the ballpark at Harrison Square.

The stadium first fielded Wizards in 1993 as an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins organization. Future Twins, such as Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins, Matt Lawton, Luis Rivas and Michael Cuddyer broke in their gloves while playing in the Summit City. In 1999, the Wizards became affiliates of the San Diego Padres. Since that time, future Friars like Sean Burroughs, Jake Peavy, Josh Barfield, Chase Headley and others kicked up dirt at Memorial Stadium. To date, 69 former Wizards players have made it to the Major Leagues – with many others sure to follow. And, for you trivia fans out there, here’s some:

  • The last out in Memorial Stadium history was made by Danny Payne at 10:03PM Eastern.
  • Former Norwell High School standout and Silverhawks prospect, Jarrod Parker dominated the Wizards through five innings of one hit ball. The Wizards offense came alive immediately after his departure . . . too bad they were already down 17 to 0.
  • The last game at Memorial Stadium took place the same night that Major League Baseball first instituted instant replay availability.
  • Dinger the Dragon faced off against former Wizard’ mascot, Wayne the Wizard in the Mascot Race. You would think one would finally win. Nope. They tied and therefore they both lost. Amazing.
  • Olympian Gold Medalist, Lloy Ball threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • My family came home with eleven softy balls, one Memorial Stadium replica and two bags of free potato chips.

And now, there is little else to do but turn our attention to the Major Leagues as the playoff races take shape. By early September, we may know the new name of the team and quite possibly have the opportunity to purchase (or receive) the new branded merchandise by the holiday season. And who knows, maybe I’ll publish another book during Spring Training! These are all some small milestones to help us endure another winter where following the Arizona Fall League just doesn’t quite cut it.

Oh, and there’s always this little vignette for Memorial Stadium that I put together. I’ll post a photo gallery tomorrow night.

It’s been a wonderful year. Thank you to the Wizards for keeping us entertained and providing me with the opportunity to take batting practice at Memorial Stadium, view an occasional game from the best seats in the house and so much more. To all those I have met and met up with at the Castle, I hope to see you downtown next season. I’m already looking forward to helping kick off a new era in Fort Wayne baseball history on Opening Day at Harrison Square.

Note: the music that accompanies the vignette is “The Last Song” by Thousand Foot Krutch. It’s a hidden track on their cd, “The Flame in All of Us” on Tooth and Nail Records.

Might Toledo Use Fort Wayne as a Model?

As the ballpark at Harrison Square has been debated and discussed, there was much talk of looking to other cities, such as Dayton and Louisville for inspiration, ideas and lessons learned. I had even heard – and often suggested – that the developers look to Toledo for the same reasons.

Having visited there in 2006 for the Triple-A All-Star Game, I saw a great facility that had little to surround it. While it was not as bad as Detroit, where you walk out of a beautiful stadium and suddenly feel like you’ve been dropped into a scene from The Road Warrior or Mad Max, Toledo bored me. There was absolutely nothing to do near the park. Yet, you could tell they were on the upswing (or so I thought).

2006 Triple-A All-Star Game in Toledo 

At the time, it seemed to me that Toledo was several steps ahead of Fort Wayne. However, Toledo Blade Staff Writer Matthew Eisen (wonder if there’s any relation to former Daisies player, Tibby Eisen), posits that Toledo may look to Fort Wayne for inspiration.

In Fort Wayne, Ind. — a city with a metro population equal to Toledo’s, just short of 600,000 — a comprehensive plan released in 2002 provided the blueprints for 76 downtown projects.

Sharon Feasel, a redevelopment specialist for Fort Wayne, said the city has completed nearly 50 percent of those objectives, including expansion of its convention center and smaller initiatives such as the landscaping of city center medians.

The second-largest city in Indiana is in the middle of building a new ballpark for its Class A minor league baseball team, the Fort Wayne Wizards, in the Harrison Square area downtown. The project includes a Marriott hotel and 60 new condominiums.

“We set about the process of thinking about all of the complexities of downtown,” she said. “Downtown, everyone has to do everything together, and you have to mix all uses, all races, all incomes, mix all everything.

“We just literally set about trying to promise that this wasn’t going to be a plan that sat on the shelf.”

Ms. Feasel said the plan has experienced so much success that Fort Wayne produced an update — Blueprint Plus — zeroing in on more specific parts of downtown, including the waterfront along the city’s own stretch of the Maumee River.

Eisen’s article bases a lot of Toledo’s current momentum on the tenets of an architectural movement that is collectively known as New Urbanism; which is a concept that “endorses the creation of heterogeneous neighborhoods with a variety of shops, offices, and accessible green space while encouraging public transportation and walking.”

During the years of 1950 to 2007, urban populations grew from 110 million to 275 million. During the same time frame, rural populations grew from 62 million to 63 million. Projections suggest that urban populations will to continue to ascend — increasing to 401 million by 2050. At the same time, rural populations are expected to fall to 44 million.

New Urbanism definitely has its advantages. Higher density creates lower energy costs. Working near employment reduces commutes, and further saves energy. Additionally, there is always a social outlet for those seeking it.

Naturally, this is a type of living environment that caters to young professionals. I’ve observed this fact many times over. Those who are for the HS project, are typically 30 and under. Those who are against it, are typically . . . well, older than that. (While I like comments, let me preempt potential backlash by observing that I did NOT say every 30 year-old loves the Harrison Square idea and everyone over 30 hates it). Chew on this for a minute:

The millennial generation — 78 million born from 1977 to 1996 — has started becoming a major part of the work force as baby boomers — 82 million born from 1946 to 1964 — begin to take a bow and pack up their desks. The group of fresh workers might be more apt to look for residences downtown if their jobs are already there . . .

With jobs generating activity during the day, and residents filling the void in the evenings, downtowns suddenly become more attractive to other businesses, much as they were 50 years ago when they served as the hub of industry.

Most urban planners agree revitalization then typically goes to entertainment — restaurants, nightclubs, theaters, sports venues — followed by retail, a far more fickle downtown staple, all on the heels of other developments to complete the city center package.

Eisen concludes his piece by stating that “[v]ery few cities in the country the size of Toledo have a ballpark, a convention center, a world-class art museum, a picturesque waterfront, and a budding arena to attract visitors and residents to the city.”

While he is correct, I look to Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne has all that, plus a phenomenal public library, the Embassy Theatre, the Botanical Conservatory, additional museums and plenty of dining options. Honestly, this is an opportunity that others have worked very hard to achieve, and one that can’t be passed up.

I guess Fort Wayne isn’t that far behind after all.

Era of Baseball in Fort Wayne to End as Another Begins

Three more games. That’s all that’s left in the history of baseball at Memorial Stadium.

Three more games. That’s all that’s left in the regular season home schedule of the Fort Wayne Wizards.

Three more games. That’s all that we’ll see the “Wizards” take the field in Fort Wayne, barring a miraculous run to make the playoffs.

In 1993, local old-timers like Red Braden ushered in an era of baseball in Fort Wayne. In 2008, a local up-and-comer who was a 2007 first-round draftpick will effectively bring that era to an end.

Memorial Stadium

Jarrod Parker, the ninth overall pick in 2007, will take the mound for the visiting South Bend Silverhawks during Thursday’s Memorial Stadium finale against the home team Fort Wayne Wizards.

Parker is 11-5 during his first professional season. He has a 3.59 earned run average over 23 starts. In 112.2 innings, the former Norwell High School star has struck out 110. Last year, Parker helped lead the Knights to a 35-0 season, which included bringing home the Class 3A state baseball title, and Indiana’s Mr. Baseball in addition to several other accolades.

Wynn Pelzer (9-5) will start for the Wizards. In 28 games, Pelzer has a 2.84 ERA while allowing 107 hits, 28 bases on balls and 97 strikeouts in 114 innings.

The Fort Wayne Wizards have put together many great events and promotions for the week. It was kicked off with the naming of the All-Time Wizards on Sunday. Today, they announced the all-time Memorial Stadium team of players who came through Fort Wayne either as a visiting team or a home team. That list includes Alex Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, Adam Dunn, Johnny Damon, Jake Peavy, and Billy Wagner among others.

Three more games. That’s all that’s left before the physical reminder of fifteen years worth of memories meets its fate with a wrecking ball. And the Wizards are senging it out with style.

After the last game, fans will be allowed to run the bases as they usually do. Limmer said they also will be given an opportunity to throw a “final pitch” from the pitcher’s mound. Front-office personnel considered having a ceremony to turn off the lights, but wanted the fans more actively involved.

And the chances are, Corey Kluber’s selection as last week’s Midewst League Pitcher of the Week will be the last in the grand history of the Fort Wayne Wizards.

Midwest League poses little challenge for him. On Aug. 19, Kluber had the week’s best start, striking out 11 batters over eight one-hit innings against Lansing. Unfortunately, the game was a pitcher’s duel that Fort Wayne lost in the 10th. Pitching against the same Lugnuts five days later, Kluber exacted a bit of revenge, and the win, this time with 10 strikeouts and four hits allowed over five innings.

Three more games. And tomorrow, one of the most recent breakthrough former Wizards, Chase Headley will field questions from fans in a live chat on padres.com at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Three more games. That’s all that’s left. And bloggers are memorializing Memorial Stadium in which he ask’s the Journal Gazette’s Ben Smith to tell us how he feels about it.

Three more games. And then several months during the offseason. That’s all that stands between this moment and opening day of a new era of baseball  in Fort Wayne. That’s when the first pitch will be thrown by a player from a yet-to-be-named Fort Wayne team from the mound at the ballpark at Harrison Square.

Three more games. That’s all that’s left before a hometown hero takes the mound in Fort Wayne. It’s ironic that it took fifteen years, but how fitting that it will be such a person to send the stadium out and effectively be the usher to the end of one era and the gatekeeper to the beginning of another.

Wizards Want Your Input on Name Change Possibility

The process of selecting a new name for Fort Wayne’s Minor League Baseball team continues with the next phase of public feedback. After sifting through more than 2,500 team name suggestions over the last three weeks, the team again looks to the public to provide guidance.

“We were impressed with both the sheer number and the creativity of team name submissions,” stated General Manager, Mike Nutter. “That makes it that much more difficult to choose the new name for the team.”

The team is asking the public to help one more time in the decision-making process. “We could go in any number of directions with the names we’ve received,” said Nutter. “We’re hoping that the community will help. We’ve identified four primary themes into which many of the suggested names fall into and we want fans to let us know which direction they prefer.”

The four categories that the team has identified are:

– FORT WAYNE ICONS and/or PROMINENT HISTORICAL INDIVIDUALS
– FORT WAYNE GEOGRAPHY (THREE RIVERS, SUMMIT, ETC.)
– FORT WAYNE’S HISTORY AS A CENTER OF INNOVATION and INVENTION
– The “OLD FORT” or SIMILAR MILITARY THEME

While the public gives their feedback, the team will be busy narrowing down the considerable list of potential names. “We are hoping that with the names we have received and this additional public input we can zero in on the best name and begin the considerable work required from there to design and develop a logo and team identity,” said Nutter. “It has always been our goal to create a brand that Fort Wayne and the surrounding community can identify with and embrace as their own.”

To give your feedback, CLICK HERE

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