We’ll be seeing a lot of stories like this the next few days, so let’s get rolling: the Visalia Rawhide (High Class A; California League) set a franchise attendance record for the third consecutive season in 2011.
Visalia’s paid attendance of 118,065 for the season surpassed last year’s previous record of 108,681, and represents a 76 percent total increase over 2008’s numbers (the last season before the extensive renovations of 2009).
It was a year that was the team put a quarter-million dollars into Recreation Ballpark improvements, including the Bullpen Family Deck, the On-Deck Grill and the Snakebite Saloon.
Visalia’s affiliation with the Arizona Diamondbacks also continued to bear fruit, as multiple Rawhide alumni made successful debuts with the first-place Major League club. Paul Goldschmidt, last year’s California League MVP, has made a major splash with the D-backs since being called up in early August; he hit his first Major League home run against Giants ace Tim Lincecum and has awed fans with his power. Josh Collmenter, Bryan Shaw, Collin Cowgill and Ryan Cook have also gone from Visalia to the Majors in a short amount of time.
“This has been our most successful season to date, and it gets better every year,” said Rawhide President Tom Seidler. “Between the fantastic and ever-increasing fan support, the continual ballpark improvements, and the success of our alumni, this was a season to remember, and we’re looking forward to more improvements and even bigger crowds in 2012.”
Seidler should also take a bow: he saved pro baseball in Visalia and done so with a lot of passion and flair.
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