The Visalia Rawhide are on target to open a renovated Recreation Park this season, complete with new seating and a permanent cowbell section.
Work continues on the renovation of Recreation Park, the home of the Visalia Rawhide (High Class A; California League). Owner Tom Seidler has pretty much made over the team’s image in the past year, going heavy on the Wild West/ag themes while the city spent $11.6 million on ballpark improvements.
The ballpark improvements are fairly extensive and took years of lobbying on the part of Seidler: a new fan structure is going in down the right-field line, complete with new concession stands, fan entrance, air-conditioned Hall of Fame Club, and team shop. It certainly wasn’t an easy sell — and apparently some Visalia city officials are grumbling about it — but putting in the facilities as well as other improvements were needed if the city was to keep professional baseball. As it stands the ballpark will hold only 2,700 — still a small number for a Class A facility.
The team’s extreme makeover is just as important when looking at 2009, though. The roots of the new image came last year when the team set up a cowbell rooting section. Fans were issued cowbells nightly, and the seats were paied with a Hostein pattern. You can expect more of the same branding with the team’s new nickname.