WAHOO PRIDE FACTOR The team’s office is in transition. On one side of the front room is surplus Pensacola Pelicans gear for sale. On the other are grandiose plans—
architectural renderings, a dry-erase board brimming with notes and a lone stadium seat for the city’s new Double AA ball team, the Blue Wahoos.
In a small room to the side, Bill Bavasi, special assistant to the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, spent a recent Tuesday afternoon speaking with the local sporting press. He was in town visiting the Reds’ new Double AA affiliate.
“Never been here before I got here at 11 o’clock,” Bavasi said, adding that he liked the city so far, and that the perception of Pensacola in Cincinnati was encouraging. “Our people would term it as up-and-coming, a jewel, something that’s unknown, that’s about to explode.”
Bavasi also enjoyed getting a look at the new Community Maritime Park stadium, where “if you hop the right-field fence you get wet”. The Reds organization is confident that the management team behind the Wahoos can get it completed in time for the 2012 baseball season.
“They’ve been around the block, they get it,” Bavasi said, singling out Wahoos President Bruce Baldwin. “It’d be hard to turn the keys over to someone who doesn’t have experience.”
Once Double AA action begins at the new ballpark, Bavasi said Pensacola could expect talented, raw play; he calls the league the “most exciting level” in the minor-league system. Players in the Double AA league are still in what he calls the “age of innocence”.
In addition to quality baseball, Bavasi said he believes a minor league team also provides its host city with increased revenue. “It’s great financially,” he said. “I think more importantly, it’s a pride factor.”
COUNCIL MIA Only three Pensacola City Council members sat through the two budget workshops that lasted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 13-14—Maren Deweese, Sherri Myers and Megan Pratt.
John Jerralds missed both of them. P.C. Wu and Larry Johnson had a Tourist Development Commission meeting. Brian Spencer had a doctor’s appointment, and Ronald Townsend and Sam Hall also found other places to be.
The majority of the council appears ready to pass the budget, but there are a few sticking points–mayor’s cabinet, Energy Services of Pensacola rates and the Penny for Progress budget. Can Myers, Deweese and Pratt muster support to amend the budget?