The first-base side of Memorial Stadium seating tends to be a sun field, so the Boise Hawks (short season A; Northwest League) will launch a blimp to shade fans sitting in the front of the section.
Unlike the last story posted on Ballpark Digest, this is not a joke: this is an attempt to address one of the worst parts of the Memorial Stadium experience. The blimp could appear as soon as opening night; it’s in transit, and if not operational it will be soon. It’s a real attempt to provide some relief to frazzled fans who tend to avoid what could be some of the best seats in the house. It’s also a real attempt to show fans that the team’s new ownership is serious about pleasing fans. What says commitment more than spending $20,000 on a blimp to provide sun relief? From the Idaho Statesman:
The Hawks will float the blimp between home plate and the third-base stands in an attempt to create shade for fans along the first-base line. Ropes will tie it to the ground with a pulley system, allowing the club to lower the blimp as the sun sets.
“It’s not one of those things where we’re promising every person who sits in the first-base section that you’re going to have some shade,” [said Hawks President Todd] Rahr. “We couldn’t do that. But this is our attempt to try to start solving that problem.”…
“If it’s a colossal failure, it’s a colossal failure,” said team owner Jeff Eiseman. “But at least we tried something. This park has been here for 30 years and nobody has done anything about it. Now, maybe nobody did anything about it because they’re all smarter than us and realized they couldn’t. But we’re at least trying.”
In proud MiLB tradition, the team tried to sell advertising signage on the blimp.