Blue Wahoos Look Back On Season Three
The pennant races in Major League Baseball may be heating up, but here in Pensacola the 2014 season is history. And while there have still been more losses than wins on the field, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are still one of the hottest tickets in town.
Jonathon Griffith, the Executive Vice President of the Blue Wahoos says the team drew 311,687 fans to Pensacola Bayfront Stadium this season, about 46 hundred more than last year. However this year's per game average attendance was down by 200 per game this year compared to 2013. That's because the team did not lose a game to rain this season and played four more games than last year.
There were some games early in the season that were affected by rain but were able to be played. One of the major reasons for that was the work of the grounds crew at the ball park. Ray Sayre has been named the Southern League's 2014 Groundskeeper of the Year. It's the second year in a row Sayre has been honored for his work at Bayfront Stadium.
And that field saw some exciting moments this season including the AA debut of a hometown prospect. Ben Lively was brought up from A ball in June and pitched well for Pensacola, striking out 76 batter is 72 innings of work. It's expected that he will start next season with the Blue Wahoos.
Fans also got to experience some unusual promotions at the ballpark this year, including the popular Wahoos Waddle, which is essentially a pub crawl around the ballpark.
Looking ahead to next year Griffith says there will be some changes and some additions. Everyone would like to see the team's won-loss record of 60 - 80 improve, but in AA baseball wins take a back seat to player development. The management in Pensacola has no say as to the make up of the team and can only control the fan's game time experience. They are planning on again having some college baseball games in late February and early March.
And while Griffith did not completely rule out a return trip to town by the Reds, it seems unlikely given the recent announcement that the big league club's preseason schedule will conclude with a trip to Montreal to play the Blue Jays. In any case, opening day 2015 is Thursday, April 9 as the Blue Wahoos will host the Southern League's newest team from Biloxi. That team hasn't been named yet.