Success for Joliet Slammers owners means more than baseball
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org December 11, 2012 5:06PM
The Joliet Slammers CEO Josh Schaub (left) shakes hands with Joliet City Manager Tom Thanas at media day in the Hall of Fame room at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Illinois, Tuesday, December 11, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Slammers host Holiday Open House
The Joliet Slammers are having a “Holiday Open House” on Saturday.
Fans are invited to stop by the Hall of Fame room at Silver Cross Field from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event allows fans to meet some of the team’s new front office staff, including General Manager Chris Franklin.
“We look forward to the opportunity to open our doors to our fans and encourage any and all to stop by the ballpark,” Franklin said.
Milano Bakery will provide holiday pastries for the open house. Team merchandise will be discounted. And the team will be selling holiday packs and other ticket packages.
Updated: January 13, 2013 11:07AM
JOLIET — Success for the new Slammers’ owners goes beyond than baseball, CEO Josh Schaub made clear Tuesday.
“You should be left with the impression that we’re going to have more than just baseball,” Schaub told reporters gathered for the new management’s first media day since buying the Joliet minor-league franchise.
Exactly what besides baseball isn’t clear yet.
Schaub spoke conceptually about weddings, concerts, lacrosse games, even fantasy baseball drafts as events that have been done at other minor league stadiums.
Co-owner Nick Semaca said he’s intrigued by the possibilities of outdoor hockey.
“We’re open to any ideas you can think of,” Semaca said. But, he added, “Our priority is to have a great baseball facility. Our goal is not to have all special events and no baseball.”
Even so, the new owners talk about keeping Silver Cross Field busy 365 days a year. As far as outdoor hockey, Semaca said, “You’re not going to do a lot else in the dead of winter.”
The new owners are not the first to talk about the need to expand the use of Silver Cross Field.
JackHammers management, before the team folded, was receptive to the idea of modifying the stadium for Joliet Central High School football.
Alan Oremus, who bought the Joliet franchise and started the Slammers, also talked about bringing in more besides baseball to generate revenue. In the end, Oremus sold the team to Schaub’s group without getting enough attendance at Slammers’ games to make the business profitable.
Schaub, however, seems to define success by what kind of business the company can do beyond baseball. He said there is a reason the new owners formed the company under the name of Joliet Community Baseball and Entertainment. The team has advertised for a director of special events who, Schaub said, could be hired in January.
“We’re going to do our best to bring people into the stadium as much as possible,” he said.
Helping that cause could be a new 400-car parking deck slated to be built across Jefferson Street from Silver Cross Field by the 2014 season. The deck, equipped with speed elevators and other conveniences, could help the new Slammers’ owners create a more welcoming environment for out-of-towners coming for a unique event at Silver Cross Field, which does not have its own parking lots.
Joliet City Manager Thomas Thanas mentioned the parking facility during his comments at the media day briefing as he noted that the city, which owns Silver Cross Field, has a big stake in the Slammers’ success in drawing people in baseball season and all seasons.
“This isn’t just about making money for the city,” Thanas said. “It’s about rebuilding downtown Joliet.”