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Reno Aces - The Last Game, a Great First Season

9/7/09 - Today is the day. The last Reno Aces game of the season. Judging from the folks I talk to at each Reno Aces game I attend, the season is ending leaving people wanting more. That's good, because we have at least 14 more seasons to get through in order for the baseball stadium to be a true success to its developers and this city, so don't let the excitement of the Aces wear off just yet ;)

According to this Reno Gazette article, the players were impressed with the support Reno gave them in Season One. Attendance has been high, even in mid-week, mid-day games. Encouraging to see.

The stadium is a bright spot in an otherwise creepy neighborhood where even I feel a little leery sometimes walking at night by myself. What was once an empty lot and a weekly motel and a fire station is now one of the most successful entertainment venues in downtown Reno. I have not yet heard anyone come away from an Aces game saying 'this totally sucked I will never come back here again.' Maybe you either like baseball or you don't, but I know many friends and relatives who 'kind of' like baseball, yet go to the games simply for the social aspect and atmosphere. It's the 'experience' of a ball-game, chatting with friends, getting some garlic fries, or being sucked into the 'kids zone' by my nieces in the second inning, and not being able to re-emerge until the 7th inning stretch. Thank goodness for that singing inflatable baseball, it's a great escape route to lure my younger relatives away from the kids zone and eventually back to their seats to watch at least some of the game.

Over 460,000 supported the Aces this season by attending, I don't think there was a game with attendance under 4,000, and the average attendance per game is around 6400. I remember naysayers saying they'd be lucky if 2,500 showed up per game. Now of course those same naysayers are saying 'oh well wait till next year, this was just the honeymoon season.'

What are your thoughts on Season 1 of the Aces? Yay? Nay? Can't wait till next year?

It's important for residents to continue supporting this team.

Why? Aside from the normal reasons like team spirit, community spirit, etc, It's not a stretch to say the Redevelopment Agency overextended itself a bit with the baseball deal. According to recent staff documents, The Redevelopment Agency will be able to make it's required payments to the baseball developers without any further staff reductions, partly because if the tax revenue from the Baseball District is under $1 million per year, the agency has the guarantee of retaining up to 80% of its operating and maintenance costs before making any payments to the developers, and partly because it will take tax increment from the remaining areas of RDA1 and RDA2 if enough isn't available directly from the baseball tax district. However once the property tax revenue DOES exceed $1million, that minimum funding guarantee disappears, and the Agency is on the hook for the payment regardless of agency maintenance/operating costs. The Redevelopment Agency is projecting this to occur in 2013 as the developers continue to build out the project and add property value. The good news? It seems as though even with the payment becoming superior over maintenance costs, no further staff reductions will be necessary if everything pans out. The bad news is, this leaves the Redevelopment Agency Area 1 (downtown) with a whopping $18,020 of available capital in 2013, and $122,295 in 2014. This is why you see a slew of priority projects suddenly not being priorities anymore, because they don't/won't have funding unless it's from an outside source like a private entity.

This brings me back to the baseball stadium. I'm not complaining or judging the City Council or the Redevelopment Agency on past actions regarding the baseball stadium...what's done is done. Can't reverse it or go back in time. No matter how controversial or right or wrong you think the deal was, it doesn't change the fact you can't go back in time and change it. The end result is a baseball stadium. This is it, guys. This is what we have. With the economy the way it is, I can't forsee another major entertainment-oriented project like this happening for at least another few years, at best.

So. That's that. I couldn't make it to the last game today, but I am listening to it on my old 1932 Phelco radio. I made it to 10 games this season, not bad for someone who doesn't watch baseball on tv and makes it to one Giants game a year. I love the stadium I will be back next year, as well as my neighbors and other folks in my neighborhood who I spot with Aces gear on streaming down toward the stadium before every game.

I hope you go next year too. It's a great experience, it pumps up the players when we have a near-full stadium, and it's great for downtown.

And a reminder to the baseball folks....when you approached the city council/redevelopment board asking for an increase in yearly payments as collateral for your attached entertainment complex consisting of an elevated plaza, night clubs and restaurants, Phase 1B or whatever is, you stated that this money would help you continue with construction with little or no delay, and that you anticipated starting full construction on this in August. In recent city documents it states the anticipated start date as September 1. Given the delicate situation the redevelopment agency is in , I am hoping you'll start that construction any day now...and finish in time for Season 2 so returning baseball lovers have an entirely new portion of the stadium to explore.

UPDATE: I heard from two sources Channel 4 is saying the next phase starts construction September 15. NIce! Can't wait to start taking photos of the construction! This will be a great addition to the stadium, adding a new element for the 2010 season that will help keep people coming back for more.


Post your comments
Posted by: Wiley_n_Reno - 9/7/2009 2:43:46 PM
That's right!....the Aces said they will have the workers in place to start moving dirt for the Freight House district. That will be interesting! I went to 4 games, I bought about $75 in souvenirs.

Posted by: Travis - 9/7/2009 4:19:52 PM
Well said. SK Baseball built a nice stadium, I can't wait for them to continue developing the area.

Posted by: 1 Reno Aces Fan - 9/7/2009 7:48:01 PM
The Aces tore it up this year! We ended up above the 500 mark by 15 games! I saw on the news construction on the next phase will start September 15. You very nicely summed up why the town needs to support this team, without tearing anyone a new a-hole. It was a big gamble for the city council but I think it is paying off.

Posted by: Tricia Bart - 9/7/2009 8:42:23 PM
This wouldn't have worked if the stadium was anything less than what they built. I enjoyed all my Aces games, the employees were very friendly and this was one of the primary reasons I kept returning. A bad ballpark makes for a bad game. I will be back next year with my family.

Posted by: Mark D - 9/7/2009 11:26:04 PM
Building the baseball stadium and bringing in AAA baseball was definitely the #1 best news item for Reno this year, and probably the most positive city-related development in the 10 years since I've lived here! I made it to 15 or 16 home games (plus 1 Aces road game in Sacramento). Every game, win or lose, has been a great experience in this fantastic ballpark! The Aces management has done a first rate job in creating a fan friendly atmosphere that invites many return visits. (Just don't make a careless mistake of raising ticket or food prices for at least the next 2-3 years). Based on today's RGJ article, the Freight house entertainment district and potential for additional uses for the ballpark (concerts, boxing/UFC events, etc.) promise even more benefits to the community. We drew a near sellout of over 8750 fans for today's "meaningless" finale (in terms of playoff potential), which still outdrew Tacoma's finale today by over 2000--and Tacoma was playing for the final playoff spot in the league! This ballpark will be a permanent fixture for the city, especially with the large amounts of Aces clothing and merchandise that was sold this year (who would buy that stuff and then never return to the ball park again?). By the time the winter comes to an end, the fans will be ready for more baseball, and we will begin the 2010 season will with a 7 game win streak and high hopes for making the playoffs. Fans have already become interested in following the careers of many Aces players--and will take note when they get called up to the big leagues. While there have been mixed results on business around the ball park, in general I could not imagine how the city of Reno could have been better off without a AAA pro baseball team this year, or any year. Local charities also are likely to benefit significantly with the presence of the Aces through countless fundraising opportunities. Go Aces!!! In the meantime, I plan on giving more support to the Bighorns basketball team this year.

Posted by: Watson - 9/8/2009 10:38:27 AM
Do you know if they plan to do anything with the stadium in the off season? Concerts? After reading those numbers I did not realize it strapped the city government as much as it did, but I still think it's worth it, and it's ok if we don't have another major downtown project for a while. Maybe now it's about the smaller businesses coming in and building up a nice infastructure of goods and services downtown. Go Aces!

Posted by: Trent - 9/8/2009 12:17:55 PM
I love the Reno Aces. As long as our city doesn't go into debt over this, I think it was a good thing to do. It gives a reason to come downtown for the day with my two boys.

Posted by: Dave Wilson - 9/8/2009 9:46:43 PM
I saw my first Aces game on Saturday and it is an amazing ball park, it's like a big league park on a smaller scale. I really hope this team succeeds.

Posted by: truthiness - 9/9/2009 8:47:18 AM
All this crowing about the success of the Aces and not a peep about what it's done to city government. It has bankrupted the redevelopment agency, for pete's sake. What kind of success is that?

Posted by: Perry - 9/9/2009 12:42:14 PM
truthiness I think the poster covered that at ad nauseum above laying out exactly what it means to the redevelopment agency. Did you not read? What some of the people above feel is it was still worth it, even if we can't build anymore large things for a while.

Posted by: Anakin-Marc - 9/9/2009 12:43:01 PM
Yeah, it did bankrupt the redevelopment agency. The same way Disneyland bankrupted Walt Disney when it first opened. Now look at it...

Posted by: bearcat57 - 9/26/2009 7:17:15 PM
Went to about 10 ball games. don't even live here. I had ongoing business in Reno, so I bought an 18 game package. Great stadium, great enthusiasm, a ten minute walk from my Hotel. And, much more enjoyable than going to a Giants game. About a half dozen Aces are now with the Diamondbacks, and I check the box scores to see how they're doing.


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