Dear Eric Gardner: [Assistant General Manager; Carolina Mudcats]:
I hope your organization has recovered from the wet start of the season and can now actively pursue reversing that seven year trend of declining attendance (to the tune of 20% since 2012). I am embarking on a Carolina League road trip this July, and I was not planning on visiting your stadium because I have never really forgiven that carpet bagger Quint Studer for moving the team from Kinston to Zebulon. However, since he sold the team, I suppose I can let things go and perhaps stop by Five County Stadium, especially since your organization is having an All You Can Eat promotion on July 9th, which should feed the family rather inexpensively, which is very important on a vast cross country road trip.
Before I make this commitment though, I have a few questions.
- All You Can Eat Hot Dogs and Hush Puppies is a recipe for terrible gas, which can be brutal in a car with your family, especially with a teenage son. What other food options are offered? Anything other than standard ballpark fare? A concession stand named the Bait Shop does not exactly inspire confidence.
- Your stadium does not seem to have much shade, which is not important for a night game, but it certainly is for a day game in July. Do you have misters? A luxury box that really is not being used that day in which my family can just chill? We are from Southern California and are used to a Mediterranean climate with low humidity.
- Is that Cattails Restaurant a menu or buffet style restaurant? Is it possible to get a good steak there? Johnny Walker Blue? Shots of Fireball? Nothing that is going to bring on the runs, right? I have been invited by Wade Howell [Vice President; Down East Wood Ducks and Hickory Crawdads to throw out a first pitch at Historic Grainger Stadium that weekend. As a two decade plus minor league executive, you know just what an honor that is, and I can’t be suffering from a leaky valve because your chef made things a little too rich, especially since I am going to be hanging out with Austin Schwartz [Vice President, Sales & Marketing; Fayetteville Woodpeckers] in a luxury box at Segra Stadium also that weekend.
- What type of Mad Hatter designed the stadium? Were the good folks at Odell Associates dropping boatloads of acid when they built that place? What is up with the steep concourses? The vertigo inducing upper deck of Chase Field in Phoenix looks less intimidating that that red vertical wall of seats. Do you ever rent the place out to professional rock climbers for training?
- The scoreboard looks large. You know what they say about minor league executives with large scoreboards. Is the screen high def? Due to my ruggedly handsome good looks, I often fins myself on the big screen between innings, and I want to look my best for the citizens of Zebulon.
- It is refreshing that your organization does not embrace the phallic symbolism that is rampant in the Carolina League. Fayetteville and Kinston grapple with the wood, the Keys play at Harry Grove, and those sick bastards in Winston-Salem have a throbbing purple ramrod as their logo. Plus, there is the Blue Rocks. A Mudcat are not some euphemism for something dirty, is it?
- I see you have shot glasses for sale in your team store, which means you are a top notch organization in my book. I had to chide Adam Franey [Former Director of Promotions; Inland Empire 66ers] for three years to get the 66ers to start selling these. If I make it to your stadium, can we slam a couple of shooters in your air conditioned office like real minor league executives do while the peasants swelter in the sun?
I need to cut this short because I still need to respond to the latest missive from Allen Lawrence [Interim General Manager; Salem Red Sox]. May your next homestand see strong attendance.
Your friend in baseball,
PS: I bet you did not know I am the president of the Southern California Down East Ducks Backers, Sons of Vengeance Chapter.