Like any great year, this one had its wins and losses, its triumphs and disappointments, with a bonus league championship trophy coming home to TVA Credit Union Ballpark.
The big win Wednesday night was the Cards’ sixth to avoid elimination in nine days — some high stakes to be sure. Johnson City now has 13 Appy League championships under its belt and five in nine years.
Clearly, the team’s managers, trainers, coaches and players have done outstanding jobs these past few years to win games.
But it isn’t only about the final score. Sure, a win from your team is more enjoyable than a one-sided rout, but live baseball isn’t something you just watch. It’s something you experience.
It’s about the theatrics of the game and the friendly rivalries between the communities that host the teams. It’s about the sights and sounds at a busy stadium and the taste of those dollar hotdogs. It’s about watching kids bound up and down the bleachers with their mitts trying to catch foul balls, ushering in a whole new generation of baseball fans.
In that respect, the Cardinals’ owners and managers have hit it out of the park.
The baseball experience has greatly improved at the Johnson City stadium since Boyd Sports, LLC took over in 2016, and the payoff has been a larger, more enthusiastic fanbase.
Renovations and new amenities, like the addition of an alcohol-friendly party deck, lured in young, craft beer-obsessed supporters and introduced them to their home team. Family friendly events brought in children and their parents and gave them reasons to return and look forward to the next game.
Attendance is up and the team is winning, a stellar combo for any baseball outfit, from the minors to the majors.
Let’s all congratulate the Cardinals for a successful year and get ready for another one next spring!