The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, October 15, 2019 1:00 am

City hosts Midwest League confab

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

In the suite-level lounge at Parkview Field on Monday, representatives of all 16 Midwest League teams mingled and listened to league President Dick Nussbaum give a status report on the league.

With the 2019 season in the books, the representatives gathered this week for the 2019 fall meeting, a three-day conference that will run through Wednesday. This is the first time the TinCaps have hosted the event, which acts as a forum for teams to trade best practices for game day experience, fan engagement and more.

“A lot of (the attendees) haven't been (to Parkview Field) since (the TinCaps) hosted the All-Star Game in 2010,” TinCaps President Mike Nutter said.

“I'm talking to people about Mike Trout being out there and Chris Davis and Wil Myers. ... (Since then) the community that I'm so proud of has changed so much for the better.”

On Wednesday, the conference will host Pat O'Connor, the president of Minor League Baseball, who has not been to Parkview Field since attending the stadium's first game on opening day 2009.

Monday's discussion after Nussbaum's speech focused mostly on ticketing, but today's agenda will have sessions on promotions, video production, community relations, social media use and other areas of interest. 

Nutter said that the geography of the league works in such a way that teams feel free to share ideas that have worked because the organizations rarely compete against each other for fans.

“There's a ton of talent in this league,” Nutter said, speaking of off-the-field staff. “When (other teams) are doing something new and cutting edge, it gets our attention because we're not arrogant around here saying, 'Hey look at us, we've got it all figured out.' ”

Nussbaum gave an overview of the season that was.

The league drew 3.8 million fans in 2019, which is below its desired benchmark of 4 million, but he pointed out that the teams lost a total of 61 games to weather and the average game attendance remained strong.

“Fort Wayne is one of the top franchises in all of minor-league baseball, certainly in the Midwest League,” Nussbaum said. “It gives all of our teams an opportunity to look at what a first-class facility looks like. 

“I just love coming over to Fort Wayne,” he added. “I hope the people of Fort Wayne understand what a jewel they have.”

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