Chief of Staff | The only game in town
“I’ve heard more about the Waynesboro Generals the last couple of months than I’d heard about them the last 10 years,” a friend said to me, confirming to me that our scheming to that end is working.
And we’ve got more in the works with our upcoming Wednesday, April 29, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., ribbon-cutting at Kate Collins Field, complete with a pitching contest where you can test yourself against a radar gun and a home-run-hitting contest where you get to take a few swings at former Major Leaguer Reggie Harris.
And yes, we get it, a ribbon-cutting for a team that traces its history back to 1923, which for those who missed the day in history class where they went over this was the year that Waynesboro merged with Basic City, is maybe a bit presumptuous, considering. But we think it appropriate given a couple of trends, one, the growth in Waynesboro the past 10 years, with so many people new to town who don’t know every last detail of what goes on around here in the summer, and two, the relative lack of effort in promoting the team and our games to our local fan base.
The new ownership and management group that I’m helping head up will not lack for effort on the promotions side of things. Among the first acts that we took upon assuming caretaker status back in January was to move the starting time for our games from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. to accommodate our friends in the local news media who have outsourced their printing operations to farther-away locales and needed the extra half-hour to get stories about our games in the paper the next morning. Another benefit there, of course, is that most of our games will end between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., meaning you get home earlier, which can’t be a bad thing at all.
Our ribbon-cutting on Wednesday will showcase something else we’re going to do for our fans – namely, make every game night an event that you just can’t miss. You’re not going to get to stand in to take a hack or two off Reggie Harris every night, but we are planning fastest-pitch contests, Kids’ Nights with magicians and storytellers, live music, Art in the Ballpark, Ladies’ Nights and whatever else in terms of good ideas that we can come up with and bring to fruition between now and Opening Night, Friday, June 5.
Our theory on the Generals being an event that you can’t miss is pretty basic. Waynesboro, unfortunately, just doesn’t have much going on in the summer, with no movie theater or concert or performing-arts venue providing a regular schedule of entertainment. We truly are the only game in town, and we think we can help fill a void in that respect by making a night at the ballpark not just about great baseball, which is a given, but also about everything else going on that you can’t miss out on.
We know we have a lot of work to do to make this a go. We averaged just 341 fans a night last year, roughly a third of what our counterparts in Staunton drew on a nightly basis. It’s not going to be enough for us to roll a ball out to the pitchers’ mound and have the ump yell “Play ball!” We need to engage our fans and the Greater Waynesboro community to have this thing realize its full potential.
And on that, I want to solicit your ideas. What do we need to do to pique your interest in the Waynesboro Generals? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. No idea is too big or too small for me to give a look-see.
I’ll even share some of what I get back from readers in my next Chief of Staff column.
We’re going to work hard to get your business. Know that going in.
– Column by Chris Graham