Virginia Baseball touts improvements to gameday experience at Davenport
Attendance at what is now an absolute baseball palace has flagged a bit the past couple of years.
And before you @ me over the characterization, three games with then-#5 Louisville in May in Davenport at 67 percent aggregate capacity, that’s flagging attendance.
There were two home games total in 2019 with even just more than 4,000 fans in attendance, and three in 2018.
Capacity at Davenport: 5,500.
They fixed it up, and people aren’t coming.
Some of that is losing. Back-to-back years not making the NCAA Tournament will help fans find other things to do.
Some of it, though, is based in criticisms of the gameday experience, a lot of which has to do with frustrations that have been expressed on message boards and social media about how tough it is to even get through the gates.
Good news: they’re listening.
Virginia Athletics sent out a press release on Thursday touting enhancements to the gameday experience that you’ll notice with the home opener against VMI on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Aside: hard to believe that baseball season is three weeks away.
The one that I’ll highlight is the introduction of mobile tickets, which fans who have been to MLB games in recent years have come to expect.
This one is a biggie.
Pedestal scanners will be added at each gate, reducing the amount of time it takes to scan tickets at the gate and will help expedite entry.
An issue that a lot of fans had noted the past couple of years regarding the bag policy is still going to be an issue. Still need to have bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC, and they can’t exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12″.
Clear one-gallon plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bag or similar) are also permitted.
Small clutch bags/wallets no larger than 4.5″ x 6.5″ (with or without a handle or strap) can be taken into the stadium and will be subject to search.
This is where you get stuck in line.
Aside: you could just stay home and watch the game on ESPN3, but if you’re going to watch college baseball on ESPN3, you might as well watch the VMI game, because the VMI game will have better announcers.
Yes, that means I’m back doing ESPN3 games down at VMI again this spring.
Which probably means: I’m probably not going to make it back to Davenport again this spring, which is what it is.
I’ve been to one game there since the renovations.
It’s nice, really nice.
I go where I’m wanted, I guess.
Back to our story: hey, there are also new concessions on the menu at Davenport, including beer, wine and hard cider in the area known as The Porch down in the right field concourse.
As at JPJ during concerts, guests 21 and older will be given a bracelet following an ID check., and that bracelet will enable each guest to purchase two drinks at one time and up to four drinks during the game.
All alcohol must be consumed inside the beverage garden and sales will end at the conclusion of the seventh inning stretch.
New concessions offerings include the Ballpark Burger that features a number of options, steak and cheese subs, jerk chicken nachos and jerk chicken sandwiches and Ben & Jerry’s milkshakes served in souvenir mason jars.
Other newbies: Dollar Dog Days are scheduled for March 3 (Richmond), March 31 (Cornell), April 9 (Wake Forest), April 21 (Liberty) and May 14 (North Carolina).
Gameday promotions include an April 11 Four-Legged Friends Day, which sounds like fun.
A UVA Baseball bobblehead giveaway is scheduled for May 9, and on May 16, fans can get a Virginia Baseball camo hat, so that they can channel their inner Connor Jones.
The presser encourages fans to download the Virginia Sports mobile app, which we are told can help you locate concessions, merchandise, restrooms and other in-venue amenities, and receive push notifications to receive timely updates, including inclement weather alerts on game day.
This should be a good thing.
All of it, actually, good stuff.
Now, just need to get the good guys to win a few more.
Story by Chris Graham