President and General Manager Todd Rahr and Team Manager Mark Johnson spoke with a few of our season ticket holders yesterday to discuss the 2012 season so far, the business side of our team along with the possibilities for the future, and the players themselves. A lot of questions were answered and a few rumors cleared up.
On the business side of things, we talked about the status of a new stadium and team affiliate. To clear things up for those who haven’t heard or who have heard the wrong information, YOUR Boise Hawks are not leaving! Whether the Cubs decide to extend their contract or leave, there will still be a team here in Boise. With the talk of a new stadium or an expansion, there have been a lot of words thrown around which may or may not be accurate.
Our overall goal is of course to build a new stadium, a multi-purpose facility that would be used around two hundred days of the year. The idea of a multi-purpose facility includes a field to be used for baseball, soccer, football, and an area for hockey and ice skating, etc. We cannot justify building a new stadium for just thirty-eight games a year and a multi-purpose facility would serve the community both on an entertainment level and an economic level. There have also been discussions around the idea of expanding on the stadium we already have, but I guess we could call that the backup plan, and no guarantees on that either. All there is to guarantee is that there will be a team no matter what decision the Cubs make!
As far as the 2012 season goes Rahr says we have started off like the seasons in the past. “We seem to always start off slow and find ourselves in the race at the end of the season.” As fans, as staff, as a player or coach, we all want to win but it isn’t always in the cards. Like Johnson said, “all you can really hope for at this level is improvement, getting better and becoming a professional.” The umpires are another issue dealt with on a different level. “These guys are puppies.” The umpires at this level are working to get to the same place the players are, the next level. With that said, they are still learning. There will always be bad calls, unfortunately, at this level, it happens a little more often than say in AA or AAA ball. Consistency is what we aim for in the umpires, the players and with winning.
We have a lot of talent on the team this year, young talent. YOUR Boise Hawks are by far the youngest team in the Northwest League. A lot of the other teams in the Northwest League have experienced college kids who have at least played in front of a crowd. Our team consists of a lot of young men, eighteen and nineteen years of age. Coming from another country straight out of high school surfaces a few more challenges than simply transitioning from college to minor league baseball. Even being from America and going straight into minor league ball from high school presents a bit of a challenge. At this level it is a learning experience. From dealing with the media off field to playing in front of a huge crowd, not to mention the travel time between cities.
With the umpires and the players in the learning stages of the professional sport, the game seems to take a little longer. This is something that we all notice. The fact is, like I said before, this is a level for learning. The meetings on the mound are used for instruction and at this level there is a lot more instruction to be given. The umpires allow the time because they are getting used to the process as well. We also have things called walk up songs which the players, at this level, seem to think they have to hear.
The team you see on the field now is most likely who you will see end the season here. They are working and growing together as individuals and as a team. I believe we see it more and more each night. Here’s to the rest of the season and winning the second half!