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Top off-field developments of the 2000s

It’s the time of the year (and decade) when it seems like everyone has a top ten list of everything imaginable.  

We’ll even have our Syracuse Chiefs team of the decade coming up on this week’s podcast of Inside Pitch, but we thought we’d take a few minutes and put together our list of the top off-field developments that impacted Syracuse Chiefs baseball in the last decade.  
For this list we tried to focus on improvements to the overall fan experience and put together a list based on lasting impact.  We realize that several items in the list were not our own innovations, but simply keeping up with the time.  Still, it was fun to look back at the decade that was.  Here we go, in somewhat chronological order:
Hank Sauer Room created
Online ticketing made available
E-mail newsletter launched
Knot Hole Gang format changed
Gold Pass (now called First Class) season ticket program implemented
In-game host added
Chiefs’ presence in cyberspace grew to include this blog, plus myspace, facebook, and twitter pages
Inside Pitch radio show created
Hot Stove returned to dinner format
Time Warner Cable Sports significantly increased the number of games broadcast on television
SyracuseChiefs.com became part of Baseball Advanced Media network – streaming audio, video, live scoring, news archive added to site

Chiefs nickname returned with new set of logos
Players’ names appeared on home jerseys
Pops joined the Chiefs family
Marquee sign installed at corner of Tex Simone Drive and Alliance Bank Parkway
Dinner at the Diamond series began
Natural grass installed
Dog Lovers Night, All-You-Can-Eat Munchie Monday, Education Day, Ladies Night, PFG Family Fun Fest became regular parts of the yearly promotional schedule
Whistlestop Autograph Sessions on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday began 
Cooperstown Classic I & II took place at Doubleday Field
Terry Toss batting cage/Mojo pitching cage/Stuff-a-Scooch machine arrived on the concourse
PDC signed with Washington Nationals
Baseball Internet Rights Company brought new features to SyracuseChiefs.com including revamped store and auction site
Concerts took place at the ballpark
Inside Pitch became a podcast
We’d like to thank you, our loyal fans, for your support over the last decade.  All of the items listed above were added to our marketing mix with you in mind.  In fact, many were the direct result of suggestions from fans.  
Let us know what you think – did we leave anything out?

Remembering a great fan

The Chiefs family was saddened this week by the passing of long-time season ticket holder Don Schad.  Don sat behind the Chiefs dugout along with his wife April and brother John and formed a friendship with everyone who sat around him.  

Don’s obituary described him as “the most irritating nice man you could ever meet.”  We will remember Don not only for his dedication to the Chiefs (he attended almost every single home game), but also for his propensity to offer suggestions to all members of our staff.  His feedback over the years helped lead to the creation of the Gold Pass (now called First Class) Season Ticket and to the continued development of that program.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Don’s family during this difficult time.  Don, you will truly be missed by all of us.

Holiday party a hit with fans

THANK YOU to all of our fans who attended the Dinner at the Diamond Holiday Party on Tuesday night in the Hank Sauer Room.  Guests at the sold out event enjoyed an evening of food, fun, and baseball talk, plus Santa made an appearance.

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Former Chiefs ready for MLB playoffs

With the Major League Baseball playoffs set to begin this afternoon, here’s a look at the former Syracuse players who will be participating in this year’s post-season:

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Philadelphia Phillies
Miguel Cairo, IF (1996)
Scott Eyre, RHP (2001)
Jayson Werth, OF (2002-’03) (pictured top)
New York Yankees
AJ Burnett, RHP (2006-’07)
Chad Gaudin, RHP (2005)
Eric Hinske, IF/OF (2003)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Casey Blake, IF (1999-2000)
Orlando Hudson, IF (2001-’02) (pictured bottom)
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter, RHP (1997, 2002)
Dave McKay, 1B Coach (1979)
Colorado Rockies
Glenallen Hill, 1B Coach (1987-’89)
Minnesota Twins
Rick Stelmaszek, Bullpen Coach (1976)
Keep in mind that 15 of the last 16 World Series champions have had at least one former Syracuse player on their roster.  The only world champion since 1991 without a former Chiefs player on the active roster was the 2003 Marlins, but the Fish did have former Chiefs outfielder Bill Robinson on the bench as the team’s hitting coach.  (Sorry Boston & Anaheim fans.)
Enjoy the playoffs everybody!

Hill, Carpenter pick up awards

Congratulations to former Chiefs Aaron Hill and Chris Carpenter, who were honored today as the American League and National League Comeback Players of the Year.  

Hill, who missed significant time last year due to a concussion, received 14 of 30 first place votes from MLB.com beat writers.  The second baseman slugged 36 home runs and drove in 103 runs while batting .286 for the Toronto Blue Jays this season.
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Carpenter pitched in a total of five games in 2007 and 2008 before returning to the mound this year and posting a 17-4 record with a 2.24 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals.  He was a runaway winner of the NL award with 27 first place votes.
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Thank you fans!

Now that the Chiefs have played the final game of their inaugural season as a Washington Nationals affiliate, we wanted to take a few moments to say a sincere THANK YOU to all of the fans who made the 2009 baseball season a memorable one here in Syracuse.

Total attendance for 2009 was 392,518 for 65 openings – an average of 6,039 per game.  This year’s total is slightly higher than last year’s total of 392,017, which was accomplished in 68 openings (5,765 per game).  However, this year’s per game average represents an increase of 4.75% over last year.  Furthermore, this year marked the third consecutive season that per game attendance increased in Syracuse.
At a time when so much attention is being paid to the state of the economy in our area and across the country, we are truly grateful that fans in Syracuse helped make us one of only four International League teams that saw an attendance increase.  Gwinnett (new city and new stadium), Columbus (new stadium), and Lehigh Valley were the other cities in the 14-team league that saw an increase.
We could delve further into market size and let you know that our attendance per capita was the fifth-best in the league, but the point of this entry was to thank you, not to overwhelm you with numbers.
However, we would like to clear up a few things that were written in the local newspaper on Monday and posted on its web site.  Attendance for Monday’s season finale was 8,742.  The figure of 12,660 that was printed in the box score for Monday’s game included an addition of 3,918 that was necessary as a result of the Chiefs playing a game in Cooperstown in June.  This situation was explained in detail to the newspaper employee who was at Monday’s game so that it could be accurately presented in the newspaper.  
Unfortunately, the story that appeared in Tuesday’s paper was written by a different newspaper employee who was at Sunday’s game, but was not at Alliance Bank Stadium on Monday.  It is also unfortunate that the newspaper employee remains obsessed with the method used to calculate attendance.  The method we use is the same method used throughout the International League and approved by Major League and Minor League Baseball.
In conclusion, we would like to say a final THANK YOU for your support this season.  We hope to see you at Dinner at the Diamond this fall and we are already looking forward to an even better year in 2010.

Autograph signing at JR Junction

Chiefs pitchers Clint Everts, Josh Wilkie, and Zech Zinicola will sign autographs on Saturday, August 22, at JR Junction Train and Hobby from 12noon until 2:00pm.  JR Junction is located at 2716 Erie Blvd. East in Syracuse.
While you’re there getting an autograph you can also pick up a custom Syracuse Chiefs flatcar or covered hopper train car (see images below).  

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Bus trip to Buffalo

The Durkin Excursion is traveling to Buffalo this Friday, August 21, to catch the Chiefs in a doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons.

The bus will depart Alliance Bank Stadium at 3:00pm sharp for the 6:05pm twinbill.  The price is only $49.00 per person and includes transportation, snacks and beverages on the bus, a pre-game picnic at Coca-Cola Park, admission to both games, and post-game fireworks.
Seating is limited, please contact Jim Durkin at 668-8418 for more information or to reserve your seat.

DMB ticket update

Tickets for the Dave Matthews Band concert at Alliance Bank Stadium are now available from the Chiefs ticket office at Alliance Bank Stadium.  The ticket office will be open until 8pm Monday night and will re-open Tuesday morning at 8am.  Phone orders can not be accepted.

Dave Matthews Band tickets still available for friends of the Chiefs on Facebook!

Want tickets to the sold out Dave Matthews Band Concert Tuesday night? Become our friend on Facebook for more information!

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