A national publication has named the Fort Wayne TinCaps the 2014 Team of the Year. Ballpark Digest Publisher Kevin Reichard says the franchise took the honor because of the atmosphere at Parkview Field and its commitment to community service. November 12, 2014
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – After six years, the Fort Wayne TinCaps set attendance records and had the best year in team history. For sustained success and an amazing commitment to community service, the Fort Wayne TinCaps franchise is the Team of the Year in the annual Ballpark Digest awards.
After six years, most minor-league baseball teams start to lose some steam, but we're seeing the opposite at Parkview Field, where the Fort Wayne TinCaps are setting attendance records and becoming more entrenched in the local community. That makes the TinCaps Team of the Year in the annual awards from Ballpark Digest, the leading guide to ballparks and baseball on the Internet.
The TinCaps and Parkview Field were instant successes, as fans from the very beginning embraced the new downtown ballpark. But owner Hardball Capital and team management didn’t rest on their laurels; instead, they've embarked on a program to consistently renew fan interest in the team, with enhanced game offering and offday activities.
“The TinCaps really embrace the notion of community service as part of its mission,” said Kevin Reichard, Ballpark Digest publisher. “A TinCaps game is great fun for everyone, and on that alone the team would be a winner. But add in the community service and commitment to Fort Wayne, and you have one of the most noteworthy teams in all of baseball.”
“It's an honor to be selected as Ballpark Digest's Team of the Year,” stated TinCaps President Mike Nutter. “It sounds clich? to say, but we don't do what we do for recognition or awards. We strive to make an impact in our community on a daily basis, whether it be welcoming guests to Parkview Field or being out in the community. This area has responded with their tremendous support and we don’t take that for granted.”
Parkview Field has always been a great place to take in a game, and the TinCaps continued tantalizing fans with new experiences and offerings: the BIG APPLE dessert was named Ballpark Digest's Best New Food Item of 2014, for instance. But, just as important, the team's mission of community service was expanded in 2014. The team continued its philanthropic focus with hundreds of donations to charitable organizations and events, ticket donations to area underprivileged youth programs, and monetary donations to fund raisers. The TinCaps also enhanced their fundraising ticket program, increasing the number of Little League, Scout, and not-for-profits that benefited from the team’s easy-to-execute events.
The 2014 season was another banner year for the TinCaps in community and charitable involvement. The TinCaps Reading Program, free to schools and students, and culminating in a free ticket to a game, was a tremendous success yet again in 2014. Impacting over 350 schools and libraries and 106,995 children, the program provides incentives to promote reading. The program is completely free to implement and is fully funded by the TinCaps and corporate partner, Longe Optical.
Along the way, Parkview Field was positioned as a community center on game and non-game days. The facility hosts nearly 600 additional events annually, including large community events such as Downtown Fright Night Halloween events, Night of Lights Festival Fireworks, the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon, CountryFest, 98.9 Bear Birthday Bash, and the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.
The community focus certainly resonated with fans. For the third time in six years, the team welcomed over 400,000 fans through the turnstiles, with 406,715 for the regular season, averaging 5,810 fans per game – both new Fort Wayne records.
“We thank Ballpark Digest for this award, both as avid readers ourselves in our front office, and for what they provide the baseball community with their publication,” said Nutter.
“It's amazing what the TinCaps have accomplished after the move to a lovely new ballpark,” Reichard said. “Giving back to the community is such an important part of how the TinCaps operate, and we're very happy to recognize that commitment with this award.”
ABOUT THE BALLPARK DIGEST AWARDS
Each year Ballpark Digest honors noteworthy accomplishments in the baseball world,: Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, independent baseball, summer-collegiate baseball and college baseball. Team officials and readers are asked to submit nominations for awards in specific categories; Ballpark Digest editors then go though the submissions (numbering some 400 pages of documentation in 2014), consulting with industry leaders before a final decision. This is the seventh season for the Ballpark Digest Awards. A complete listing of Ballpark Digest Awards can be found at www.ballparkdigest.com/awards.
ABOUT BALLPARK DIGEST/AUGUST PUBLICATIONS
The leading Website covering the culture and business of baseball since its inception in 2002, Ballpark Digest (www.ballparkdigest.com) has been called an “indispensable” guide to baseball and ballparks by The New York Times; it’s been used as a source by publications and Websites ranging from The Wall Street Journal to Epicurious.com. August Publications is a publisher based in Middleton, Wis. Besides Ballpark Digest, August Publications websites include SpringTrainingOnline.com, ArenaDigest.com, YellowstoneInsider.com and NewWest.net.
Source: The Fort Wayne TinCaps