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Cheney Stadium – The Pride of Tacoma

Business View Magazine

2018.02.21-Cheney Stadium-IMAGE

Photo Source: Business View Magazine

Business View Magazine interviews Nick Cherniske, Director of Stadium Operations, as part of our series on minor league sports venues.

Cheney Stadium is a minor league baseball stadium located in Tacoma, Washington, a city of approximately 211,000, on the banks of Puget Sound, some 32 miles southwest of Seattle. The development of Cheney Stadium as the home of Pacific Coast League baseball in Tacoma began in 1957 as a shared idea by area businessmen Ben Cheney and Clay Huntington. Following a three-year effort by these men, the San Francisco Giants agreed, in the fall of 1959, to relocate their Triple-A club from Phoenix to Tacoma, hinged on the city’s ability to construct a new stadium in time for the beginning of the 1960 season.

Tacoma’s city council quickly approved the deal, and the project took just over three months to complete, thus earning the stadium the moniker: the “100-Day Wonder.” The speed at which the venue was built was partially due to the importation of some historical pieces from the Seals Stadium, a minor league ballpark in San Francisco, built in 1931 and demolished in 1959. “When the idea to bring baseball to Tacoma became a reality, they put six light towers on a barge, along with all the fixed seats the stadium utilized, and sent them to Tacoma,” recounts Nick Cherniske, Director of Stadium Operations. “So we had Seals Stadium seats and light towers for many years. The light towers remain and we do have a small piece of the seating bowl that actually has the same 1891 wooden seats that have been a part of baseball for over 120 years.”

Image Source: Business View Magazine

Since its inception, Cheney Stadium has hosted seven different minor league baseball teams; it has been the home of the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, since 1995, who play 70 home games there, every season. Beginning in March 2018, the Seattle Sounders FC 2 of the United Soccer League will also play their home games at Cheney, while awaiting the construction of a new stadium of their own. The stadium also hosts concerts, commencements, and corporate events. “We call them ballpark takeovers,” Cherniske quips. “Because of the weather in the northwest, especially in the winter, a lot of what you see in the offseason is focused in our suites – events and parties in our restaurant and club areas.”

After 58 years of continuous operation – Cheney Stadium is baseball’s second oldest Triple-A park – the city of Tacoma, which owns the stadium, along with its partners, the Ben Cheney Foundation and the team’s ownership committee, approved an ambitious $30 million, offseason renovation plan to include a new grandstand structure, roof, and concourse; new concession stands and seats; 16 luxury suites; a right field berm addition, a club/restaurant; a kids’ play area; and more restrooms. The Rainiers clubhouse and dugout, formerly located along the first base line, have shifted to third base, with visiting teams now residing in the fully renovated first base location. What has not changed are the views fans have grown accustomed to – the ballpark’s grandstand is still the same one constructed more than five decades ago, with the steep pitch that makes every one of its 6,500 seats in the house a great one.

“Our average capacity rate is 83.6 percent, but in the summer months of the season, June, July, and August we reach the mid 90s” reports Megan Mead, Vice President of Marketing. “In the summer, there’s no more beautiful place to be than the Pacific Northwest. People love coming out to the park; it’s a great place for families. On a clear day, we have a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier from the stadium. In the summer months, in particular, we’re selling out games, frequently.”

Mead adds that the stadium also serves as a community asset in a multitude of ways. “Tacoma is about 25 minutes south of Seattle and we have a very unique community and culture, here,” she explains. “And we have a deep connection to that community, so we make sure that we’re creating a first-class experience for everybody in the city – whether that be baseball, or, now, soccer, or the community events we support. We’ve got sports camps where we partner with local organizations that get kids out to the field. Our players visit the local children’s hospital; they do school visits. We do summer movie nights – family-friendly movies that are free and open to the public. We have a full-scale whiffle ball field that’s onsite here and open to Tacoma citizens as long as we’re not in a game. So, there’s a deep connection to the community that’s really important to us.”

Media and Communications Manager, Brett Gleason, adds that Cheney Stadium is also a good environmental citizen. “We’re a member of the Green Sports Alliance, and we have a large emphasis on stormwater prevention,” he says. “The volume of rain we get in the northwest is significant, so with pervious asphalt in our parking lots, as well as the drive coming into the stadium, we’re reducing and ideally, eliminating the amount of surface water that makes its way into the storm drains and finds its way into the Puget Sound. Also, in the 70 games that we host, we have an 8th inning recycle break, where members of the ushering staff make their way throughout the stands and ask guests to recycle with us. We take a proactive approach to collect everybody’s recyclables and make sure that they’re disposed of correctly.” Mead adds that the stadium hosts sustainability nights on Tuesdays – fans who bring in cans for recycling get discounted tickets for Tuesday night games.

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Cape Town Sports Hit Hard By Water Crisis

GreenSportsBlog
Lew Blaustein

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The pitch at the usually lush Hamilton Rugby Club ground, Stephan Oval, in Green Point (Photo credit: IOL News)

Cape Town, South Africa’s largest city with a population about the size of Los Angeles, is facing a catastrophic water crisis. Authorities have sounded the alarm that as soon as June 4 — ominously referred to as “Day Zero” — the drought-stricken city will have to cut off the taps to all homes and most businesses, leaving nearly all of the city’s 3.7 million residents without access to clean running water. How will the water crisis impact the city’s sports teams and events?

Cape Town, South Africa is a sports-mad city.

Rugby, soccer, cricket, cycling, and more have passionate followings among many of the “Mother City’s” 3.7 million residents.

But with June 4 expected to be the day the city runs out of clean, running water — considered to be the case when water levels in dams reach 13.5 percent — sports will find itself in an unfamiliar, yet wholly justifiable position: The back burner.

Before we get into how Cape Town’s sports teams and events are reacting to and are affected by the water crisis, let’s take a quick look at how the city got to this point.

NO WATER IN CAPE TOWN? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

According to numerous reports from experts, for the last decade or more, Cape Town’s authorities have been forward thinkers and actors on water conservation. Writing in the February 9 issue of Vox.com, Zeeshan Alleem asserted that the city “worked hard to fix leaks in the pipes that distribute water across the city….Leaky pipes account for between 30 and 40 percent of a city’s lost water…Cape Town has reduced the amount of water it loses through leaks to about half of that. And in 2015…Cape Town even won a prestigious international award for its water conservation policies.”

Despite these successes and others, dams that were completely full just a few years ago now stand at about a quarter capacity and Day Zero is less than four months away. How did this happen?

The main culprits are a once-in-a-century, three-year drought, along with a dangerous lack of water supply diversification — Cape Town gets more than 99 percent of its water supply from dams that rely solely on rain; underground aquifers and desalination are not part of the mix. And, as University of Cape Town hydrologist Piotr Wolski told Laura Poppick in the February 13 edition of Smithsonian.com, climate change is serving as a crucial accelerant.

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Sailors for the Sea and Oceana Plan to Join Forces

Sailors for the Sea

David Rockefeller Jr, joins Oceana’s board, Sailors for the Sea board to join Oceana’s Ocean Council

Oceana will continue to build constituency for the seas among 12 million recreational boaters

SFTS_Full-Color-Logo

NEWPORT, RI and WASHINGTON, DC –  Sailors for the Sea, the leading ocean conservation organization that engages, educates, inspires and activates the sailing and boating community, and Oceana, the world’s largest international conservation organization focused solely on protecting and restoring the world’s oceans, announced today they are joining forces.

“Our board, staff and all of us are so pleased to be joining Oceana’s team, “said Sailors for the Sea co-founder David Rockefeller, Jr. “This will strengthen our ability to help sailors and power boaters make a difference in saving the oceans they depend on.”

Oceana will continue the legacy of Sailors for the Sea through engaging the nearly 12 million strong recreational boating community on ocean conservation and will seek to unite a core constituency of sailors and boaters whose support will help win victories that will help to save the world’s oceans.

“Sailors and recreational boaters are highly credible ocean leaders,” said Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless. “Sailors for the Sea will now help us reach them in in ways that will prove truly beneficial for Oceana’s conservation campaigns.”

The two entities’ boards of directors, following an effort initiated by Oceana, unanimously approved the plan to combine. Sailors for the Sea will file a petition with the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Supreme Judicial Court for approval of the combination under Massachusetts law.  In the meantime, David Rockefeller, Jr. has joined Oceana’s Board of Directors and Sailors for the Sea board members have been invited to join Oceana’s Ocean Council.

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