Not the same old Slammers
by bob okon email@example.com February 4, 2013 8:44PM
Mike Breyman (right), the new Joliet Slammers field manager and director of baseball operations, addresses the media as hitting coach David Garcia (left) sits nearby during a news conference at ATI Physical Therapy Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, at 790 Remington Blvd. in Bolingbrook. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 6, 2013 6:21AM
The Joliet Slammers have some new ideas for the ballpark this summer, including a “Blue Collar Buffet,” a giant yard sale and a local food vendor to be named later.
Team management and staffers are doing a lot of mingling in the first season of new ownership, trying to get a feel for what fans want, General Manager Chris Franklin told the Joliet City Council Baseball Committee on Monday.
“We’re really trying to close our mouths and open our ears to hear what fans are telling us,” Franklin said.
Something new at Silver Cross Field this year will be the “Blue Collar Buffet” — for $20, fans get a reserved seat ticket and all they can eat for 90 minutes off of a set menu.
The team has come up with several all-you-can-eat options that could make spending at the ballpark more predictable for the average fan.
The Slammers also will feature a “Loaded Luxury Suite” for a price of $40 per person with an all-you-can-eat menu. Franklin said fans had complained that spending $40 to $50 on food and drinks on top of the price of a suite ticket “really makes it unaffordable.”
Franklin said the team also is committed to getting a local restaurant or food vendor into the stadium this year.
The Slammers also want to go beyond baseball in attracting people to Silver Cross Field. The yard sale is one such idea, Franklin said.
“It’s just a community event. It has nothing to do with baseball,” he said.
The Slammers are about two weeks away from hiring a special events coordinator who will develop non-baseball events for the park.
The team has been busy in the off season getting to know people in Joliet and “building relationships,” said Josh Schaub, chief executive officer and one of the new owners who bought the team after last season.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re out in the community,” Schaub said. “I want to be on a relationship basis with our fans — not just a transaction basis.”
Councilwoman Jan Quillman said the team’s community involvement has been evident.
“At almost every event I’ve been to I’ve seen a Slammers representative. That’s good to see,” Quillman said.
Some other features the new management is adding this year are “Slammers Loot” coupons that can be spent like cash at the ballpark, a Mexican food and taco bar and the return of the “Kids Club,” which includes letting kids run the bases.