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.