Time for part two of our look at the 2009 Hagerstown Suns and this time we go off the field and look at the aspects from the fans view of things or least my view of things.
Two years since this post have passed and I thought it would be a good time to take look at things that have and haven't changed.
Remember we shoot from the hip and as I have told members of the Suns management team,I write nothing that I wouldn't tell you face to face.
The Suns continue to not charge for parking.
That is always a good thing when you consider the trend of teams beginning to charge to park your car.
The team shop has begun to bring in opposing team sets to sell and help collectors that want to work on the visiting teams for autographs.
This has been something that I had been hoping for years would happen and the Suns have finally taken steps to bring those into the shop.
It is a low cost,low risk opportunity to bring those sets in and the extra effort is appreciated by the collectors.
Sometimes it is the little things that make your opinion improve.
I asked GM Bob Flannery at the meet the team night about rescinding the silly Will Smith/Drew Hankinson policy on the suite area ban for the autograph collectors.
Bob did just that on the first night and it has been a big hit.
Being able to spread your stuff out and not be compacted in the cattle chute by the clubhouses is a huge plus and the organization doesn't look so small to hassle people over a minor issue.
The Suns Hall of Fame was a great idea and the statues that were given were quality items.
Credit for the idea and for not going cheap on the giveway.
Adding grilled chicken,grilled hot dogs and hamburgers to feed your face nights are a good touch.
Especially the grilled dogs when compared to the regular dogs,those are (never mind,more on those in the bad section).
The chicken is actually quite good.
I really like giving a cup to season ticket holders to have soda for a buck.
I had been critical of this in the past when you compare it to the beer promotions,but the Suns have corrected this to be fair to all.
And a plus to Bob Flannery himself.
Bob tries to talk when he can about things and always has time to least say hello,how are you.
I got maybe two hellos from Will Smith in two years.
Maybe he didn't like me??Nah,couldn't be.
Anyway,I like the way Flannery works and his willingness to please the fanbase.
I wouldn't wager that Flannery will be in the Hub City long term,he will be moving up the Mandalay ladder and it will be sooner than later.
Here goes-The guy on the PA is the worst announcer that I have ever heard.
From the screaming into the microphone to the hanging onto syllables for a hour "Sttteeevvveeee Lombarrrrrdooooooooooozzzzzzzzzziiiiii" to the high pitch of his voice,he has to be the worst around.
To me,it sounds like a very bad YouTube parody of the Chicago Bulls announcer from the Michael Jordan days.
I could do a better job than that walking in the door cold.
I'll take that challenge tomorrow,but then again I would bet most people could.
How about a smidgen of professionalism?
This guy is so loud that you cant even speak to the person next to you until he shuts the hell up.
My lord,if I could do one thing that would have an immediate impact at the Muni,that would be the one.
Sharpen the axe on him-Please!!!
The PA system is loud in spots and soft in others (although the PA guy doesn't seem to have any issues with it unfortunately).
That is a city of Hagerstown issue as is the continuing deterioration of the crappy restrooms.
The city could help a little bit by tossing some money in to work on these things.
The Sunsations are still a tired and half assed act although two things have improved over the last two years.
One,the shirts that the ladies wear are a bit more professional than in years past.
Whether the ladies or the Suns realize this or not,the Sunsations are a role model to young girls that attend these games and this is a far more positive image for them.
The other is that they actually have one member that tries to look like they are having fun doing their job.
With the exception of this young woman,it is the old uninspired routine of the same songs with "dancers" that really don't want to be there and give less than glowing effort.
Perhaps an idea might be in future job fairs could be have this put in the job description-"You must like to dance and be able to at least look like you are enjoying this'!
You don't have to be good,just try hard!
The games/on field "entertainment" still leaves much to be desired,but to be fair, that is rarely going to be my idea of a good time and I am not the demographic that the Suns are going after anyway on this,but one stands above all for awful.
The PA guy blares some song about "Smelly Feet" while kids battle among themselves to find their shoes and put them back on to win a race.
I would bet that there is a good chance that the person that thought this one up doesn't have children!
The regular hot dogs still have the awful red stripe from what could be a Starfleet replicator and the taste is worse this season.
Well,nachos are no longer on the FYF menu and the nacho cheese and jalapeno peppers went a long day into turning a awful dog into a below average one.
Nachos would be welcomed back to the FYF menu for 2010.
This is not a Hagerstown problem,it is a South Atlantic League rule,but still-The gates open one hour before the game.
Other leagues either have entrance times that are before that or they ignore the rule.
I cannot believe that the Suns wouldn't profit on some evenings by opening the gates earlier instead of having people in line.
Again not their fault,but I wish the rule would be modified.
Ideas that don't belong in the good or bad column
Please change the team colors to the Nationals red,white and blue!
Red hats,white jerseys with red or blue lettering and keep the current alternate jerseys in place except for a trim around the back numbers to make the number stand out more.
I understand there are people that like to pretend the Suns are still with the Orioles,but time to face reality.
Just an idea for the 2010 Suns team set.
How about putting the players in the Road Gray jerseys that say Hagerstown on the front?
Just for something different and a new look.
And finally,a final word for the Suns to think about.
Think about doing a tribute of some type for Nick Adenhart in 2010.
I am not sure the management understands what Nick meant to the Washington County area and even though he never was a Hagerstown Sun,he played games at the Muni and meant a lot to the people of the area.
It could be a statue giveaway,maybe a limited edition art print by a local artist showing Nick with Williamsport High and the Angels or Nick Adenhart night where his family is brought out to throw the first pitch etc.
The Suns could even retire number 34 as the ultimate tribute to Nick and the area fans.
Trust me,the fans would love such a tribute and the Suns would look just fine in their eyes for honoring his memory in such a classy manner.
Things have improved over the last two years except for the PA guy!
Here is hoping that in two more years that things are even better.
Hot Dog:Ryan Heimberger