Pittsfield Suns front office ready to start year at updated Wahconah Park

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PITTSFIELD — It won't be long now before Pittsfield's Boys of Summer take to the field for the fifth season at historic Wahconah Park.

Pittsfield Suns players were due to arrive in the early part of the week in preparation for Wednesday's Futures League opener at Torrington. But for first-year general manager Kristen Huss and her staff, the "off-season" has gone by in a flash.

"It definitely comes quick," Huss said, during a brief respite at the ballpark on Sunday. "We spend months preparing for it, and it's finally here. It's exciting and it's nice to see everything just fall into place."

The Suns regular-season schedule kicks off Wednesday night, when manager Tom Conley's team travels to Connecticut to play the Torrington Titans.

The home opener is Thursday at 7 p.m., when the Bristol Blues visit Wahconah Park.

The regular season runs until Saturday, Aug. 5.

Pittsfield's players will notice something new, a renovated clubhouse. The City of Pittsfield painted and cleaned the home team clubhouse and put in a new rubberized floor. The old park has been painted again, the grass will get another trimming, the scoreboard is being worked on, and things have been falling together.

Huss also said that things have come together at the box office.

"We're [between] a quarter there, halfway there" to a possible sellout crowd on Thursday, she said. "We've been told this is [a good walk-up market]. The fireworks for opening night will be a great show.

"We have schedule magnets to give away. We have music at the front gate and some other cool surprises when you walk in."

Huss is in her first year as general manager, and she said the business response, so far, has been outstanding.

"Everything went great. Season tickets were way ahead of where we were last year. Sponsorship sales have been going very well," she said. "The response from the community has been great. We're in a good position."

Huss is the third general manager in team history. Jamie Keefe led the team into the Futures League, and was replaced by Kevin McGuire after one year. Keefe returned to college baseball coaching. McGuire, meanwhile, is now the assistant general manager of the Fort Myers Miracle of the Class A Florida State League.

"Nothing major," said Huss, when asked how things will be different this summer, "just more taking what we've done and just trying to add to it, to make the experience more fun than it has been."

There will be some new food items, such as a "Walking Taco," which is a bag of corn chips with chili and cheese inside. The Suns will also introduce cheesecake on a stick, which needs no explanation.

The Suns management has long been a fan of more than just the game between the white lines. Huss said that they have made an effort to keep fans entertained.

"We spent a day going over new between-inning contests. We're going to keep some of the staples here, but add to them," she said. "There are some new fun ones that I think the crowd will really get a kick out of."

And it all gets started here on Thursday.

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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