Ordinary visitors to South Bend’s Coveleski Stadium may never notice—but odds are—visiting teams will.
The visitor’s locker room at the Cove has been painted hot pink.
“The walls are pink, we put in pink couch covers and everything, so even went as far as changed out the urinals and sinks to give it kind of that nice pink hue,” said Silver Hawks General Manager Joe Hart.
It’s a powder room fit for a princess, but destined to serve the boys of summer. “It’s just being a little unique, a little different you know, there’s 160-minor league baseball teams out there, we don’t want to be like the other 159,” reasoned Hart.
By this time next week, the South Bend Silver Hawks 2013 season will be underway.
The first game is set for Thursday April 4th in South Bend.
“The players will actually be reporting this Sunday night, they’ll break spring training, show up in South Bend and then we’re scheduled to have some workouts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week,” said Hart.
Last year, the team’s new management--managed to increase attendance by 68-percent. This year, there’s a hope and expectation that the visitor volume will be up again.
“We’re shooting to get well over 225,000 (compared to 189,000 in 2012) is what we’re hoping for the upcoming season,” said Hart, adding that season ticket sales for this season were already up 125 percent.
“A lot of it is expanding our reach; I mean we're really trying to focus on being the region's team. We're expanding our reach really to a 50 yard radius; we're really going after the folks in Michigan City, LaPorte, St. Joe Benton Harbor, Goshen, Warsaw so, and everybody in between. We want folks to come out and realize the gem they really have here in South Bend,” said Hart.
Because of the team’s efforts to become a more regional attraction, a popular promotion known as Flat Screen Fridays has been eliminated. Actually, the promotion that has a flat screen TV being given away every inning, will be moved to Saturdays--so fans that live farther away have a chance to join in on the fun.
The team is making $600,000 in improvements to the stadium this year. The most visible to fans will be a new Tiki Hut. “Which is a full service bar that will seat 27 around the bar itself, and then there’s seating on the deck next to it for another 60 people,” said Hart.
The Silver Hawks new management has a goal of breaking the team’s all-time attendance record.
“The all-time attendance, I believe, was in the 254,000 range, that’s something ultimately by year three we want to surpass, that we want to set a new record,” said Hart. “But even the year that they set it, there were some extenuating circumstances. That was the year of the major league baseball strike, so really the only opportunity to catch baseball was to go to the minor league. So I’m sure that had a nice impact here at the Cove. Ultimately we do not want a major league baseball strike. We want to beat the record and we want to do it just on our own merits.”