Crowds Pack Boshamer
There were fireworks at the Bosh Saturday night. Not just during the game - though Matt Roberts’ three-run home run and Kent Emanuel’s gem on the mound keyed a 10-3 Tar Heel win over Clemson - but actual fireworks after the game. The explosive displays on the field and in the skies led to a rocking crowd, as 3,945 fans saw the #1 Diamond Heels move to 24-1 on the 2013 season.
That attendance number was more than 1,000 better than any regular-season game in 2012, and more than even Carolina’s NCAA regional opener against St. John’s. The weather was beautiful (mid-60s), the baseball was great and there were fireworks in the sky. Even with the home team taking a 10-1 lead into the ninth inning, a great majority stayed for the fireworks display.
The Tar Heels cruised to their best start in school history, and the remaining weekend series will be key in determining postseason position. The crowd Saturday seemed to recognize that and got behind the team early, and the players took notice. “There’s no doubt that they notice it,” head coach Mike Fox said. “It was probably the most excited I’ve seen our players, and I think it had a lot to do with when we go out there to do our pregame baserunning and our talk, and almost every seat’s filled, and they do notice that.”
Immediately following the game, several players took to Twitter to show their appreciation for the great support. “Awesome atmosphere at the bosh tonight!” Emanuel tweeted. “I want to challenge our fans to bring us some more games with that support! A ton of fun to play in.”
“Great game tonight for the @DiamondHeels,” said Parks Jordan. “First time fireworks were on point and the fans brought it today. #keepitup.”
Michael Beale, assistant athletic director for marketing, said Saturday was the perfect storm in terms of game attendance. “I think it was kind of a combination of everything,” he said. “It starts with the team being really daggum good, a good weather night, a good opponent and having a lot of promotions, one of them being fireworks going on. I wish I could pinpoint one of them but I like to think that kind of all of them played a part.”
Beale is part of a task force charged with improving the game experience, and by extension the attendance, at Boshamer this season. That group listened to fans and responded by opening the Hall of Honor throughout games, hosting several event days (Ladies Clinic, Military Appreciation Day), and making exiting the Ram’s Head parking deck easier. For ACC series, a grill behind the third base grandstand is offering fresh food, cooked to order and featuring new rotating menu items such as ribs and brisket and beef and shrimp kebabs. Additionally, there has been a renewed emphasis on hospitality from the game staff at Boshamer. “We come up with all these grandiose plans, but when it boils right down to it, it’s the simple things from a customer service standpoint,” Beale said.
Saturday, it all added up to a tremendous experience for both fans and players, and another win for the Diamond Heels. “It’s amazing how it energizes them,” Fox said of the atmosphere. “We’ve known it for a long time here in this league that a crowd can help you win, because we’ve experienced it on the road and we need to experience it here at Boshamer. Coach (Scott) Jackson’s exact words when he came in, he goes ‘If we had that kind of crowd at Boshamer for every game we might never lose a game here,’ and I think there’s some truth to that.”
Fans will have three more opportunities to see actual fireworks, on Saturday April 6, Saturday April 20 (Military Appreciation Day) and Friday May 17. Tickets are available online.