Legends work themselves into sports fabric of Lexington
by Justin McGill, Executive Editor - jmcgill@cadizrecord.com
Jul 22, 2009 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LEXINGTON – Most folks know Lexington for horse racing and University of Kentucky basketball. The Lexington Legends are working to add themselves to that list.

The Legends, the Single-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, opened play in 2001 and, in addition to a co-Southern Atlantic League championship in their first season, have boasted a brief rehab visit from Roger Clemens.

Now, the Legends are making themselves an entertainment staple in Lexington.

“Assistant General Manager Luke Kuboushek

The Legends have ticket promotions with support organization like United Way, providing discount prices to donors.

“We feel like it’s the right thing to do,” Kuboushek said. “They disseminate funds throughout central Kentucky better than we could as an organization, so we help them out by giving them the resources to make them successful.”

The Legends also feature a non-profit organization at each of its home games.

“It’s a way of showing people what we have going on in our community,” Kuboushek said. “Non-profits don’t always have the best platform to get their message heard. A half-million people come through our gates each year, and it’s a good way for them to get exposed to people they otherwise wouldn’t be.”

The Legends stick to the same mentality as many other minor league clubs when it comes to marketing players.

“There’s an old saying in minor league baseball – ‘You have to be prepared to lose 140 games a year,’” Kuboushek said. “We have literally zero input into what happens on the field, and I think that’s one of the most misunderstood things about minor league baseball. People don’t realize that we don’t do player transactions. We keep to that saying but take it the opposite way and try to give people the best possible experience they can possibly have. The baseball’s never secondary, but we want the kids to have a good time and the moms and dads to feel like it’s a safe and friendly place to bring their kids.”

In a city where sports talk is dominated by UK basketball, Kuboushek said there are opportunities for cross-promotion.

“We had Patrick Patterson throw out a first pitch this year,” Kuboushek said. “We occasionally have certain things that have UK or horse-racing tie-ins, and we try to do it as much as we can. It’s not like we’re competitors, but at the same time, we’re going after the same advertising dollars and expendable income.”

For Trigg Countians who might be willing to make a nearly four-hour drive to Lexington for a Legends game, Kuboushek said a good value for your dollar is guaranteed.

“A family of four can come here, spend $40 and get everything they need,” Kuboushek said. “And there’s more to do than going to a Legends game. The greater Lexington area has a lot to offer. If you’re doing a destination trip, we feel like we’re the best entertainment value in Kentucky. You’ll see a lot of things you might not normally see at a minor league park. We try to take it to the extreme and do things bigger and better.”

The team: As the single-A affiliate of the Astros, the Legends’ roster is filled with young players looking to make a name for themselves within the big club and occasionally features higher-level players on rehab assignments.

The Legends play in the Southern Atlantic League’s Southern Division. They finished third in the division during the season’s first half and are currently sixth in the eight-team division, five games behind leader Asheville.

The game: Rain nearly washed out the Legends game July 4 against the Rome Braves, but the teams managed to get five innings in. Lexington won the contest 9-4.

Robert Bono picked up the win for Lexington, allowing four runs on eight hits in five innings.

Center fielder Jay Austin led the Legends at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a triple and three runs batted in.

Attendance was announced at 6,035.
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