Eugene, Ore. -- Teams across America talk all the time about 'fan experience': the things that gets people to show up and be a part of what they're watching. The t-shirt toss, the million dollar half court shot, it's all a part of 'the experience'. So KEZI 9 Sports Director Andrew Haubner decided to get in on the fun. Here is his dispatch.
I've raced people who could be construed as mythical creatures but this is a new thing entirely.
No one seems to be reporting on it, but there's a sasquatch loose at PK Park.
"Being in tracktown, and being in a fun place where people like to run a lot,we thought we needed to integrate Sasquatch into our brand a little more," says Eugene Emeralds General Manager Allan Benavides. "The sasquatch race has become a crowd favorite where we pick anybody whether it's a kid, an adult, someobody who thinks they got the speed to take on sasquatch."
So there I was...face to face with sasquatch.
"Good luck beast," I told the majestic creature standing in front of me. He gave me a thumbs down. It was very kind of him.
I started off good. I got him. I'm gonna win. But wait, I'm slowing down why is he catching up? Somebody, quick! Tranquilize him. But he went, and he won. Though my shame is complete, it's all in good fun, and something Emeralds General Manager Allan Benavides says it's integral for their fan experience.
"I think minor league baseball is 20 percent baseball, 80 percent experience," Benavides explains. "Minor League Baseball is about creating a memory."
Which builds fans tied to teams instead of players.
"Our star player might be here for a week he may be gone the next week but Sluggo is always here, Sasquatch is here," Allan concludes. "We're doing all the silly stuff between innings that I think most of the fans love."
My racing days are over but sasquatch remains...waiting for the next fan to get involved.