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Mustangs set attendance records
Thursday, August 29, 2013
By FROM BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
The Martinsville Mustangs baseball team on Wednesday announced it set attendance records during the 2013 season.
Despite a rainy summer, the city-sponsored, college-league team that plays at Hooker Field averaged 1,630 fans per game for its 25 home games in league play, surpassing last year’s average of 1,470 per game, according to officials with Team Cole & Associates, which manages the Mustangs.
For the 2013 season, the Mustangs brought 43,239 fans into Hooker Field for both regular season and exhibition games. Team Cole officials said that is the largest single season total in the Mustangs’ history, and it represents an overall increase of more than 6,400 fans from last season.
The Mustangs were one of five teams in the 14-team Coastal Plain League that saw an attendance increase from 2012, and they were the only team in a city with a population under 49,000 to do so, Team Cole officials said.
“It was very humbling to see the kind of support we received from this community,” said Mustangs General Manager Tyler Parsons.
“We didn’t really know what to expect coming into our first season,” Parsons said of Team Cole, “but I think you can safely say based on our first season that there is a lot of potential with the Mustangs.
“We couldn’t do all the things we do at Hooker Field without everyone behind us,” he said, “and we are truly thankful for the support we received.”
The ball team never has made a profit during its seven years of existence. That led Martinsville City Council to hire Team Cole to manage the Mustangs this year as part of efforts to improve the team’s finances.
Financial information on the 2013 season has not yet been released by the Mustangs or Team Cole.
Team Cole provided entertainment, promotions and special activities aimed to entice people to the games even if they were not baseball fans.
Included were fireworks shows, Strike Out Cancer Night, Salute to Troops Night, Grow Your Own Furniture Night and BB&T Dollar Mondays. As part of the latter, tickets, hot dogs, potato chips, candy and beer cost $1 each.
The season finale, dubbed the Great Community Give-Back Game, allowed all fans to get into the game for free, with the first 1,000 fans receiving a free hot dog, chips and soda. The freebies were made possible by Gildan, River Community Bank, Subway and Martinsville Smiles.
On the field, the Mustangs did well in the second half of their season, which saw the team in the playoff hunt until the final day of the regular season.
The Mustangs won 12 of the final 16 games to finish with a record of 22-31, narrowly failing to qualify for the league playoffs.
Starting third baseman Keelin Rasch finish third in the league in hits with 60, and he also finished eighth in batting average with a .316 clip and second in doubles with 16, according to Team Cole officials.
Team Cole has signed on to manage the Mustangs for the 2014 season.
“We look forward to being a part of the Martinsville community for many years to come,” said President and Managing Partner Jesse Cole.
“This community embraced us from the beginning and we can’t wait to continue to provide the best show in town and offer affordable prices,” he said. “With a whole year to prepare for the 2014 season, we plan to add great improvements to Hooker Field, and even more never-before seen promotions, to add to the fan experience with the Mustangs.”
One of the Mustangs’ major priorities in the months leading up to the 2014 season, Cole said, is to use Hooker Field for activities other than ball games. He mentioned festivals, concerts and community events as examples.
Tickets for the Mustangs’ 2014 season now are on sale.