Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner Visits Parkview Field During Midwest League Fall Meetings
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The president of Minor League Baseball, Pat O'Conner, visited Parkview Field during the Midwest League's Fall Meetings on Wednesday.
Representatives from each of the Midwest League's 16 teams were in attendance as O'Conner, who traveled from MiLB's offices in St. Petersburg, Fla., spoke to the group. He updated clubs on Minor League Baseball affairs, while also commending teams for their collective success to date and encouraging organizations to excel even further in 2020.
"I have 160 clubs," O'Conner said to local media. "I can be about anywhere I want to be on any given day. I have a lot of great executives. I have to tell you, I'm very partial to TinCaps President Mike Nutter. Any time with Mike is good time. Same goes with Midwest League President Dick Nussbaum. It's nice to come back and enjoy some of our success stories."
O'Conner has served as the president of Minor League Baseball for 12 seasons and was in attendance for the TinCaps' first ever game at Parkview Field on April 16, 2009.
"One of the great things about coming to ballpark openings and then coming back is watching the maturation of the ballpark and the area," the Ohio native said. "I think when you look at Parkview Field and the surrounding area, it's the epitome of what Minor League Baseball can do in a city to build up commerce and quality of life."
This marked the first time Fort Wayne hosted the Midwest League's Fall Meetings, which have become an annual occurrence over the last decade and rotate sites around the league's footprint. The conference commenced on Monday afternoon with Nussbaum reviewing the past season and beginning to plan for the year ahead. Through Wednesday morning, attendees joined TinCaps staff members to share best practices on topics such as community relations, marketing, concessions, ticket sales, and more. The 50-plus guests from out of town were also treated to tours of the ballpark and social gatherings in Parkview Field's Suite Level Lounge and Tuthill 400 Club.
"It was an honor for us to host Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner and our friends from around the Midwest League," Nutter said. "We're fortunate to have so many talented colleagues that it's a great opportunity for learning and growth. We're also proud to show off our great city to visitors any chance we get."
In 2019, a total of 41,504,077 fans passed through the gates at Minor League Baseball games, marking the 15th consecutive season that MiLB's 176 teams in 15 leagues drew more than 40 million fans. Of those, more than 7 million attended a Midwest League game. Collectively, the Single-A league's attendance was surpassed by only Triple-A circuits.
Nine teams in Minor League Baseball set a single-game attendance record in 2019, including the TinCaps, who drew 9,508 fans on the Fourth of July. For the entire season, across 67 openings, Fort Wayne welcomed 371,259 fans, or 5,541 per opening. That ranked second to just the Dayton Dragons among MiLB's 100 teams at the Class A level and lower. The TinCaps also outdrew 24 of 30 Double-A clubs and 10 of 30 Triple-A teams.
"They do such a great job here," O'Conner said. "I'm thoroughly impressed. I told Mike earlier today, I can't believe the ballpark is 11 years old. It doesn't look it, it doesn't feel it, and that's a tribute to Mike, Hardball Capital CEO Jason Freier, the rest of the ownership group, and the staff who take care of this place. They've continued to invest in it to make it better with the 400 Club and other amenities. It's been a joy to come back and see it."
Parkview Field has previously been honored as the No. 1 Minor League Baseball ballpark experience in the country by Stadium Journey. In 2019, Parkview Field was recognized for the second year in a row as Ballpark Digest's "Best Class A Ballpark."
Recently, the TinCaps earned acclaim from the Midwest League for their efforts supporting military and veterans. In the last four years, the TinCaps have also won two of Minor League Baseball's top awards for community service and organizational excellence.
"The franchise's success is a direct result of the support we've received from our fans and partners," Nutter said. "Any accolade the team receivess is to be shared with our community."
The TinCaps announced last week that their fans will have an enhanced experience at Parkview Field in 2020 with a new HD video board and two outfield-wall video boards.
Season ticket packages and group outings for the 2020 season are already on sale. Fans can learn more at TinCaps.com or by calling 260-482-6400.
2020 Midwest League Key Dates
- Opening Day: Thursday, April 9 (TinCaps @ Bowling Green Hot Rods)
- Parkview Field Opening Day: Monday, April 12 (TinCaps vs. Dayton Dragons, 6:05 p.m.)
- All-Star Game: June 23, hosted by the Bowling Green Hot Rods
- Regular Season Ends: Sept. 7
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Midwest League Stories from October 16, 2019
- Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner Visits Parkview Field During Midwest League Fall Meetings - Fort Wayne TinCaps
- Dragons to Conduct Auditions for Green Team, Mascot Performers, On-Field Hosts on November 2 - Dayton Dragons
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