This week's "My turn" column is by Andrew Weber, general manager of The Oneonta Tigers.
As opening day rapidly approaches here in Oneonta, I'd like to share with Tiger fans some of the details of our preparation for this exciting 2009 season. I am extremely proud of what our staff has accomplished during the offseason to bring an exemplary product and experience to all of the fans who come to Damaschke Field this summer.
If you've taken in a game here before, we hope you will join us again. If you've never been through the front gates, then take a summer evening to try one of the best forms of entertainment that is offered in central New York.
Preparation for an upcoming season begins as soon as the previous season ends. There are marketing sessions, Minor League Baseball's promotional seminar, and the front office's evaluation of the recently completed season's successes and failures. These events, coupled with new, fresh ideas, begin the planning stage for the next season.
As winter months of dormant grass and inches of snow roll by, efforts are being forged to create an entertainment package for fans of all ages and interest levels. What sets minor league baseball apart from all other professional sporting events is the ability of fans to enjoy themselves on so many different levels and through many different experiences.
On any given evening you can find yourself sitting next to a Major League scout, throwing out the first pitch at a professional baseball game or watching your child have a "dance-off'' with the mascot. Oh, by the way, don't forget that a great baseball game is unfolding before your eyes!
When that final month before opening day comes for the staff, it is similar to an accountant's month of March or an attorney's breathtaking moments before trial. Work days become work nights, as all the planning that took place in the offseason is now being implemented. This is no different for the staff of the Oneonta Tigers right now.
Offseason marketing efforts are being forged into pocket schedules and programs, Damaschke Field is rapidly being prepared for 35 young men to inhabit it, and tickets are being printed with the speed of Curtis Granderson going from first to third.
We are extremely excited to share our product with you and to continue the great tradition of minor league baseball here in Oneonta. All of the blood, sweat and tears that occur during the preseason are forgotten with the joy and anticipation that is heard in one fan's voice.
As many of you know, opening day kicks off our season here in Oneonta on Friday, June 19. There will be many differences in both the look and feel of the ballpark compared to years past, but there also will be many similarities. The sound of the bat striking the ball, the chatter of players and coaches, and the sun setting at one of the most beautiful views in all of minor league baseball have not gone away.
Bobblehead giveaway nights, Baseball Buddies and on-field promotions for children and adults will be new to many fans. However, players signing autographs, O-Nee the Tiger, and hot dogs and peanuts will all still be available at Damaschke Field.
Our goal is to bring not only a wonderful baseball product, but to entertain every fan who walks through our gates. Each fan comes to the park for a different reason. Whether that is to enjoy an evening out with friends or to bring your kids to the park for fun that we will be providing on every single night, we aim to make that experience unique and unforgettable.
By no means have we perfected a formula or think that every idea we present will work, but we are in this for the right reasons and that's to keep baseball fun and in Oneonta.
To reach Weber, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To write for "My turn," contact Daily Star Publisher Tanya Shalor at email@example.com or 432-1000, ext. 214.