With dust covering the bleachers and stray crows battling on the grounds, an early spring morning at Nat Bailey Stadium seems eerily sleepy.
But on June 20, the venue will be alive with the roar of baseball-deprived fans eager for their team to hit the field.
At the landmark home of the Vancouver Canadians, preparations are underway for the 2018 season, and team president Andy Dunnis anxiously waiting for the clouds to part and the game to start.
“Hopefully, Mother Nature does her job and we will do our job, and people can come out and see as much baseball as they can see this summer. People are stuck inside thinking about the rain or the weather most of the year, then when the summer comes people want to get outside — and we are still the cheapest-priced ticket in town.”
The price for an average ticket to a Canadians game is $16.50. There are also special rates for children and package deals for groups.
Because daytime events tend to generate higher ticket sales, Dunn plans to add extra noon games to the Canadians’ schedule. For example, the July 1 Canada Day home game will be a noon affair. Last year’s Canada Day game was held in the evening. The Canadians’ July 2 Canada Day holiday Monday game is also scheduled to be a nooner.
“There is no place better to celebrate Canada Day than here at Nat Bailey,” Dunn said.
He added that the organization will host a fireworks event the evening of July 1, then the game will take place on the July 2 holiday Monday.
Dunn said that other than possibly a few new mascot characters in the stands, the stadium and its operations will change little this year. Behind the scenes, things will be as busy as ever, he said.
“When you are running a ballpark like this it is a challenge because of the age of the facility. There is always something to be done here — 80 per cent of the stuff we do is never seen by the spectators.”
Dunn added that maintaining the iconic Nat Bailey Stadium helps the franchise thrive.
“This ballpark means so much for so many people for so many different reasons… I think we have done a fairly adequate job as an organization just trying to keep track of the ballpark, the history and all the other things that are so important to so many people in this wonderful community.”
The first game in the Canadians’ 2018 season is scheduled for June 15 in Oregon against the Eugene Emeralds. The sold-out home opener for the Canadians is slated for June 20.
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