With the AAA All Star Valley long gone, minus of course the brief aftertaste that Pigapalooza will be, I find myself asking how much longer can the Ironpigs keep the Lehigh Valley fascinated with the ballpark and the team.
Currently, the Lehigh Valley is leading AAA attendance with an average per game of 9,075 tickets sold per game. There are a few close behind but mostly is well above the average of the rest of minor league baseball. (Including teams that do not charge admission!) Well done Lehigh Valley! Well Done!
One point I would like to look at is how Andy Tracy’s 3 year stint has kept people coming in droves. You ask any child at The Coke who a favorite player is… they will say Andy Tracy. Ask the average fan to name 3 players on the Ironpig’s current roster they will say.. “Andy Tracy… ummm… Andy Tracy.. did I say him already?” Yes, Tracy has become the face of the Ironpig’s organization and it is well deserved. Andy has performed incredibly both on and off the field. Just interact with him for a few minutes and you will see what a great man he is.
Looking at the future, Andy is getting up there in years (as baseball players go) and his shoulder injury hasn’t been getting much better lately. You have to wonder if the Phillies are going to keep him around another year. As tough as nails, great personality, plays through the pain day after day… how could you let a player go like this? Just ask the Phillies. As the Morning Call’s Hog Blog frequently expresses, the Ironpigs are here to support the parent Phillies. They don’t see the Andy Tracy who stays late to sign autographs. The guy who, when spotted at a restaraunt, will sit down and have few beers with a fan. They don’t see the guy that brings 9,000+ fans to Coca Cola Park for 72 games each summer. What the Phillies see is a possible replacement if the rest of the team’s injury problems rub off on Ryan Howard. They see a quality pinch hitter to give the regulars some rest in September.
Andy Tracy is irreplaceable to the Lehigh Valley.. he is not to the Phillies.
Ok, you can say that last year the Lehigh Valley lost Mike Cervenak to free agency and attendance still increased. Valid point.
Mike Cervenak brought the young women to the park. Andy Tracy brings the families.
That’s all I have to say about that… for now.
I do admit I feel a little lagging after the All Star festivities ended. I had a long weekend with 3 parties/picnics. The heat and humidity took its toll on me but I really look forward to the rest of the season. Where we can all kick back and enjoy some baseball. It’s pretty clear that the Ironpigs have created a great big fan base. No doubt to that. There is still a lot of baseball to come and although the Pigs again have a poor record, they still play hard. You never know what you will see on any given day. Will they break out for 10 runs in the first inning? Will they let themselves be no-hit through nine innings only to have the last batter break it up with a hit? Will they overcome a large deficit to win walk off fashion? All these things keep us fans intrigued and ready to get to the next game.
The next game is on Friday the 23rd. Just a few days away. It seems like forever since there was a home game. Oh and it’s a Friday! That means Friday night fireworks. I may have gotten a little complacent, but from the reactions of visiting team officials during the All Star game.. we have it REALLY good here. REALLY good.
Looking forward to seeing you all at the Park on Friday and for those interested the Noise Nation is planning a trip to Scranton for the final series against the SWB Yankees in Scranton. Come along with us and let the SWB fans see how the Lehigh Valley can really support a team!