Otters provide nostalgic experience
by Justin McGill, Executive Editor - jmcgill@cadizrecord.com
Jul 01, 2009 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The two oldest baseball parks still in use in the United States are quite well-known – Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago.

The third is much closer to home than some locals may realize.

Bosse Field in Evansville has been home to minor league baseball since 1915 and is only one season younger than Wrigley and three younger than Fenway.

The stadiums age made it a perfect location for filming of some game scenes in the popular 1992 movie based on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, “A League of Their Own.” Many of the set pieces constructed to turn Bosse Field into the home of the Racine Belles for the film are still in place today.

Since 1995, Bosse has hosted the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League. And while much of the in-game experience has changed with the times, Otters games still boast a nostalgic feel for die-hard baseball fans.

Otters account executive and media/community relations specialist Elizabeth Lewis said the organization is committed to providing a quality experience despite current economic stress in the country.

“We’ve partnered with Old National Bank so all kids 12 and under can get in free,” Lewis said. Children can pick up their free tickets at any Old National location in Evansville and must be accompanied to the contest by an adult.

Other promotions include a dollar menu at concession stands Monday through Thursday, which includes hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, small soft drinks and 10-ounce beers.

“It’s a great way to have a night with the kids at the ballpark at a reasonable price,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the organizaion is able to capitalize on the old-time environment Bosse naturally provides.

“Coming to Bosse Field, you can see the brick is still the same and not many other things have changed,” Lewis said. “Around the concourse, we’ve added pictures of construction of Bosse Field from when it was being built from the ground up. It’s a neat experience for fans to see how the stadium has stayed the same and how it’s changed in a few areas.”

The stadiums connection to the movie has also resulted in increased interest in the franchise.

“A lot of fans will come in just to see those things and remember that this is where people like Madonna and Tom Hanks were,” Lewis said. “I talked to two gentlemen in the stadium (last Wednesday) who drove here from Wyoming that read about how themovie was filmed here and wanted to see and experience it.”

Lewis said Evansville is a great place to spend a weekend, and the Otters are part of what makes the area attractive.

“Evansville’s not that far away,” Lewis said. “You can come see some baseball and see a historic stadium that’s still in use, and you can do it at a reasonable price. We’re more than a baseball game, we’re a whole entertainment package.”

The team: Evansville’s long history with professional baseball now includes nearly 15 years of hosting a team in the independent Frontier League.

The Otters have called Evansville home since 1995, and the franchise quickly became one of the league’s most successful, drawing record crowds for several years and winning the Frontier League championship in 2006. In 1995, the Otters drew over 90,000 fans to its games, more than the entire league drew in its inaugural season in 1993.

The most well-known former Otter is George Sherill, a current pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles and an All-Star in 2008.

The Otters are currently in last place in the West Division, 12.5 games behind River City.

The game: The Otters only needed an unearned run scored in the first inning to top the Windy City Thunderbolts 1-0 last Wednesday.

Outfielder Eric Blackwell scored on a botched double play to score the only run of the contest.

Evansville starting pitcher Dustin Renfrow threw eight and one-third innings, striking out seven, allowing four hits and walking one.

Attendance was announced at 1,454.
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