Lookouts Apart of Evolution of Minor League Baseball Entertainment
Chattanooga-(WDEF-TV) Minor league baseball used to be no frills entertainment.
It was played in old ballparks with limited concessions and no luxury suites.
But how times have changed.
The minors are no longer considered second class entertainment.
Lookouts manager Tommy Watkins and Lookouts general manager Rick Mozingo have witnessed the turn-around.
Said Mozingo:”Used to be old guys in your area bought a ball team and let them play baseball there. They didn’t pre-sell a single ticket. If you walked up, you could go see a game and that was about it.”
Said Watkins:”Stadium in Pulaski was a little older. I remember the clubhouse was like a chicken coop.”
Said Mozingo:”I think you look around the major leagues. I think one of the big turning points was Camden Yards. You know Camden Yards built this brand new ballpark downtown (Baltimore). They incorporated the city into it, and it really kind took off there. Our ownership group owns the ballpark in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and that’s as nice a minor league ballpark as you are going to see. Spectacular 360-degree concourse. Seating way up high in center field.”
Said Watkins:”Biloxi is downtown right behind the casinos. From the dugout you can see the Beau Rivage. Pensacola is right on the water. If you can hit a ball good enough, you can hit it in the water.”
Said Mozingo:”Our baseball here is as good of baseball as you are going to see anywhere, but for us, it’s way more than baseball. It’s the silly games. It’s the concessions. It’s all those things. We have bacon on a stick. We have fried twinkies. It’s all about. It’s kind of carnival type fun sometimes here. You know it’s the in-between inning games. It’s the silly stuff that we are doing. It’s your opportunity to be up on the big video board every night. It’s the dance cam and those sorts of things.”
Said Watkins:”And about the organizations wanting batting cages and weight rooms. Just things like that for the team to use. I think a lot of them are like somewhat kind of demanding to have it.”
Reporter:”Just doesn’t seem like people view minor league baseball anymore as just baseball.”
Said Mozingo:”No and if you do, I think you’re doing it wrong in your city. I think we’ve got to be an entertainment venue, and I think we’ve got to do more and more things to entertain families and fans.”
Said Watkins:”It makes it where you look forward to coming to the park and playing the game.”