With the Vancouver Canadians (short season A; Northwest League) prepping for the 2015 season, it’s time to review what changes team ownership have in store for fans at Nat Bailey Stadium.
Owners Jake Kerr and Jeff Mooney, as well as team President Andy Dunn, have committed to yearly changes at the Nat. If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know we frequently urge owners and GM to make annual changes to the ballpark; they keep fans interested and staffers on their toes.
We visited Nat Bailey Stadium several years ago, but chances are pretty good we wouldn’t recognize it these days, between the changes to the grandstand and the exterior (with murals from Jennifer Ettinger) and the addition of new outfield seating, there have been lots of upgrades over the years. The key has been keeping the charm of the old Capilano Stadium (which opened in 1951) while giving fans what they expect for today’s sports dollar. We’ve already covered this year’s big upgrade to the Nat: the hey ‘yall Porch in left field, a sponsored group seating area that should provide plenty of great views of the playing field. But there are smaller improvements as well, including new bleachers down the left-field line, new bullpens, new home-run fences and new food items, according to Kerr:
“We’re not going change the general flavour of Nat Bailey at all. If anything, we think we can improve things we started, like the kids’ play area. A lot of these concessions are going to be food carts that are portable and they’ll have a lot of different things we’re not willing to share yet. There will be different items on the menu.”
The team is paying for these improvements. So far investments in the Nat have paid off for Kerr and crew — attendance reached 4,870 fans per game last season:
“If fans see that you’re constantly putting in and not just trying to take from them, they’ll support you,” said C’s play-by-play man Rob Fai.
“The reality is that the Nat is always going to be the Nat. If you come out here and say, ‘In addition, you’re going to get this and this,’ I would be all in.
“Andy has lots of ideas. I don’t want to get into all of them right now with you. You’ll find out soon enough. It’s going to be awesome, I promise. It’s minor league baseball at its best.”