Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thoughts on the Seals Home Opener

Opening night was a resounding success in spite of some obvious growing pains. We're sure that the Seals staff will figure it out over time, but some of the problems were glaring during the home opener. It almost seemed like there was no General Manager in charge. Oh wait, maybe there is no GM. The team's web site lists Roxann Bury as the Assistant GM, but no mention of a GM. A quick Google News search shows no hits on Jay Longpre, the man who was supposed to be GM, since October of 2008.

The most obvious problem on opening night was a lack of concessions staff. The wait to get a beer was greater than 30 minutes for most of the game. As you can see from the photo, it was one long line. I heard reports of people waiting almost as long to get a hot dog. Sadly, there were only two places to purchase beer and only two staff were working in each location. On top of that, they were pouring beer out of bottles and they had to re-stock the refrigerators themselves. Meanwhile, scores of employees were standing around while trying to sell T-shirts and caps.

Beers sales were cut off at the 7th inning and when I walked by the lineup there were three security guards preventing people for joining the line that had formed prior to the seventh inning. I thought to myself: "Let me get this straight -- there are a total of four people selling beer for 4,000+ baseball fans, yet they use three staff at each of the two locations to cut off beer sales?!?!?" It was almost like the team didn't want to take our money. They easily lost thousands of dollars in concession sales due to a lack of staff. Many fans simply didn't want to miss at least two innings to get a hot dog or beer.

Other problems included:
  • A public address system that wasn't loud enough -- I couldn't hear any of the player's names when they were introduced.
  • No protective screen for fans sitting behind the dugouts.
  • The same pathetic snow fence in the outfield that was used by the defunct Victoria Capitals. This fence will collapse whenever an outfielder makes contact with it.
  • No signage indicating of the distance from home plate to right, center, left or the power alleys.
  • An uninstalled video screen that was still sitting in crates.
  • The infield dirt wasn't sprayed just prior to the game, so dust was blowing around by the middle innings.
  • The concession stands were "sold out" of peanuts by game time. No peanuts at a pro ballgame?!?!
On the plus side, The turf was in pretty good shape and the logos painted on the field added a professional touch to Royal Athletic Park.

Also, Seamore the Seal was a big hit. He is clearly one of the best mascots in Victoria sports history. Marty the Marmot needs to take some pointers from Seamore (Marty, you can start by losing the diaper and that headache-inducing drum).