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Sand Gnats Off To Rousing Start; Say Rest Of 2010 Will Be a Homer

By Ray Steele
SBJ Editor


May 10 - Spring in Savannah means different things to different people.  For some, it’s when tourists start clogging downtown roads or when the dress code turns skimpier for those walking or jogging though Forsyth Park.  For others, Spring means the sound of reverberation of the voice Marquis, a vendor at Historic Grayson Stadium, shouting “Coooooooooold beer” during a Sand Gnats game.  So far this baseball season, two other distinct sounds have been heard at Grayson; the sound of construction and the sound of a winning team.

As of this writing, the Sand Gnats are in first place in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division.  That’s heartening for fans that haven’t seen a winning team in Savannah since 2000 and also for Sand Gnats team president John Katz, who hopes a winner will help pack the park the rest of the season.  Even though the average attendance of 1,701 fans though the first 16 home games is about on par with last season’s attendance, Katz says he is optimistic about the rest of 2010, “especially if the team continues to play well and we get lucky with the summertime weather.”  That didn’t happen last summer, when a series of storms cost the Sand Gnats a handful of home dates and held down the crowd for others.

Katz is also excited about the stadium’s new three-tiered deck that remains under construction and will be known as Landshark Landing.  The new deck was originally supposed to have been completed by mid-May, but Katz now says it will be fully functional by early June.  “We remain optimistic as construction progresses. It is doubly exciting to watch as the concession buildings go up.”  The new deck will house general admission seating, be able to serve group parties for up to 500 people, and feature two new concession stands.

Katz is also excited about the team’s promotions, such as the traditional “Thirsty Thursday” (half-price regular beer and soft drinks) and the new “Dollar Monday”, where virtually everything is a dollar from hot dogs to small drinks to General Admission tickets (with a coupon).   He is also proud of the way the Sand Gnats serve the community with such events as the recent Hometown Heroes Day, an all-day event that highlighted the work of area law enforcement, firefighters, and the military.  A ceremonial first pitch from Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett punctuated that event after the ball was delivered to him by the police department’s bomb squad robot.

Katz is new to Savannah and has heard the old adage that “there’s always something to do” other than go to a ball game.  But for his entertainment dollar, Katz believes the Sand Gnats are the best deal in town, and he and his staff are doing all they can to preach that to anyone who will listen.
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