Mud Hens provide entertainment for families on a budgetWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toledo Mud Hens open their eighth season at Fifth Third Field on April 16, offering an affordable form of family entertainment.
“Minor league sports have become a positive alternative for families with limited entertainment budgets. Baseball is an affordable choice for people of all age groups,” said Joe Napoli, general manager of the Toledo Mud Hens.
The Mud Hens maintained their ticket prices of $9 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under and seniors age 65 and older. Groups of 25 or more from civic, church, school or social organizations can purchase tickets at discounted rates, depending on the game and special promotions.
“It’s like having a neighborhood block party at every home game,” Napoli said. “Baseball fans want to see Fifth Third Field with most of them coming from a 60- to 90-mile radius of Toledo.”
Fifth Third Field is rated the best ballpark in the International League and fourth in the minor leagues by Baseball America magazine.
This season, the Mud Hens are having two opening days on April 16 and 17 with both games starting at 5:30 p.m. against Columbus. The ball club is selling combination tickets for the dual opening days, which are nearly sold out.
Napoli said the Mud Hens will sell unlimited standing-room-only tickets for April 16 in order to accommodate all fans. They expect to draw 12,000 or 13,000 for that game and 8,000 to 10,000 April 17, he said.
The special promotions begin on opening days with an ABC Warehouse magnet schedule giveaway. Nickelodeon’s Diego will perform at the ballpark April 17.
April 25 is Ohio State versus Michigan rivalry night at 7 p.m., and April 26 is BGSU versus UT college rivalry game at 2 p.m.
“There’s always something going on at Fifth Third Field,” Napoli said.
The Mud Hens will host “Scout Sleepovers” for the Boy Scouts on May 9, June 12, 13 and 26, July 11 and 25 and Aug. 8. Girl Scouts will spend the night at the ballpark on July 10 and Aug. 1.
Fireworks are presented after every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night game, starting May 29, sponsored by Spartan Stores.
Kids Run the Bases is hosted every Sunday with pregame autographs for kids presented by Applebee’s. Pepsi is sponsoring baseball camps for kids with dates to be announced.
The Mud Hens have three suites available to the public on a per-game basis. The suite includes 18 tickets, food and beverages for around $1,200, depending upon the menu.
“A lot of families will rent a suite for anniversaries, birthdays, reunions, rehearsal dinners and other occasions,” Napoli said.
The Coop and Nest Party Decks, Fowl Pole Patio and Home Run Picnic Terraces are all outdoors, with The Perch and “Coop-a-Cabana” available indoors for groups of 25 or more.
The Roost banquet room can be used for luncheons, dinners, meetings, weddings, holiday parties, trade shows and other events for families or businesses.
Fans can make their outings more memorable with ball caps, T-shirts or other souvenirs for the entire group at discount prices. Group members can redeem Mud Hen Money available in $1 and $5 denominations for food, beverages, merchandise and tickets.
Napoli said the Mud Hens have already sold 160,000 group tickets and expect to draw from 560,000 to 600,000 fans this season. The Mud Hens drew 584,596 fans in 2008 and more than 4 million since Fifth Third Field opened in 2002.
The Mud Hens have sold 915,000 group tickets and hosted 12,500 group outings with 5,300 picnics, 1,200 suite rentals and 700 birthday parties since 2002.
“That’s why Fifth Third field is known as Toledo’s Family Fun Park,” Napoli said.