Miners baseball gets a makeover

After years of declining ticket sales, the Southern Illinois Miners are hoping to turn things around by revamping the park. With just an hour before game time, crews are out putting on the final touches for fans.

With the gates open, fans can expect the same great game, but with a little flavor added around the ballpark. From local foods to fan favorites, the park is adding new menu items and even outdoor dining. The team is also adding player memorabilia all around the park to mark the Rent One history made by players.

The team is hoping the changes make Miner’s games a must for new fans and old.

Miners COO Mike Pinto says they’re hoping new eats, even new seats and entertainment pay off.

"Literally sit here on the railing and watch the game right here. There may not be a better view of the ballpark,” said Pinto.

Pinto says he’s hoping these changes bring more fans out to the ballgame and it’s already working. With just an hour or so before the season opener they’re already close to being sold out.

Down the road at 17th Street Barbecue, manager Mike Humes says if there’s been a drop in fans, he hasn’t noticed. It’s always busy there on game day.

"They bring us a little extra business. They make our business come in sometimes when they have a game that’s a little bit earlier than normal. Because everybody wants to get their barbecue before they go to the game," said Humes.

Pinto says the Miners are a part of Marion, but the team hopes the changes will make for a fresh experience for fans. 

"I think people just got tired of us doing the same things, and now we’ll just change it this year. And we will change it every year from now on,” Pinto said.

The season opener kicks off at 7:05 p.m. Friday, May 13. This marks the 10th season for Miners baseball.

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