Back to the ball park: As the Rome Braves start the 2021 season, prepare for surprises at the May 18 home opener and later this summer. Our interview with David Cross, VP and general manager.

Back to the ball park: As the Rome Braves start the 2021 season, prepare for surprises at the May 18 home opener and later this summer. Our interview with David Cross, VP and general manager.

Truett’s Chick-fil-A Sports

Truett’s Chick-fli-A, 264 Shorter Ave., 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Drive-through, curbside and Door Dash.
Mount Berry Mall, 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. (curbside, carryout, Door Dash). Shipping Container, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. All Monday-Saturday.

Once known as “Tango Terrace,” the large outdoor space adjoining the boxes at State Mutual Stadium has been enclosed to offer “the newest luxury space” in Rome, during the games and during the off season. The topt picture is a look from the first-base side during the Berry College/SAA baseball tournament April 23. The second picture is a side view from Bubba’s Barbecue Barn. Hometown photos.

The streak will stop at 624 days, weather permitting. That’s the stretch of time from when the Rome Braves completed the 2019 season with a 5-3 loss to the Asheville Tourists at home until the first pitch at 7 p.m. this May 18 vs. the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

We know there’s been a pandemic inbetween and also a massive shift in Minor League Baseball operations. But there’s also been major upgrades to State Mutual Stadium. There’s a a new general manager, a new field manager and a different schedule.

Stealing an idea from the old Dewars Scotch ads, we asked a few key questions of David Cross, that new vice president and general manager, who’s waited more than a year for this moment.

David Cross, vice president and general manager, Rome Braves.

Question: Most of us haven’t been to State Mutual Stadium since Labor Day 2019. What will we see at the home opener on May 18?

Answer: We’ve improved a lot in our fan experience since the last time we had a Rome Braves game over 600 days ago. Fans will enjoy a brand new videoboard that is over four times larger than the previous videoboard. The high-definition screen is accompanied by a brand new sound system, which brings the sights and sounds of the ballpark together in perfect harmony. They will also notice the enlarged Tradin’ Post team store, which is double the size of the previous store. Last, fans will notice the Terrace is under construction. It’s going to be a great new way to experience our ballpark for groups around 150 people. It will be the newest luxury space in Rome for all weddings events, parties, and company outings in season and out of season. We’re slated for a summer 2021 opening of our new premium space.

Question: For ball park veterans or newcomers, what is the one thing you want people to experience as the season begins?

Answer: Both new and existing fans will notice our new all-mobile ticketing process. As always, fans can purchase tickets at in a pod seating structure. Fans that come to our box office will be prompted to receive their purchased tickets directly to their phone through text or e-mail. The mobile ticketing process is seamless and gives fans the ease of transferring tickets to any person they would like with a few simple clicks.

Question: Food, snacks and drink are a big part of the ball park experience. Any changes to the menu, from hot dogs to beverages, in 2021?

Answer: Most of our menu is the same as 2019. We’ve made improvements to several items we serve such as fries and barbeque we serve, and we believe the fans will really like the change. Our Three Rivers Restaurant will have a slightly smaller menu in 2021 but this allows us to focus on serving the items that our fans love in the highest quality way possible.

Question: Fireworks, bobbleheads and weekday specials. Please tell us about the 2021 promotional schedule.

Answer: The staples of what make coming to our games so special are back. Discounted food and drinks, bobbleheads, and fireworks. Much of them are back. One of the promotions I’m most excited about is our new All-You-Can-Eat ticket package. The brand new Wednesday-only promotion has worked tremendously for other teams, and we’re excited to see how well our fans respond to this valuable offer. (Please click here for more).

Question: For those who can’t attend or those who listen at the ball park, what are the plans for coverage this year? We’re hearing it will be over the web with Kevin Karel returning for most games.

Answer: This season, Rome Braves home games will be heard exclusively on, and yes, Kevin Karel will return as our play-by-play broadcaster. A new fan experience element that we have added with the new sound system is that fans at the game will be able to hear Kevin’s play-by-play call in our concourse as they order food and shop for merchandise at the Tradin’ Post team store.

Question: We saw the field, and the ball park, during the Berry baseball tournament. It looks great. What was it like maintaining the field throughout a season without games?

Answer:  We were fortunate enough to host numerous events at State Mutual Stadium despite the canceled Rome Braves season. Joseph Brooks did a tremendous job keeping up the standard of play, and has once again made our playing surface the best in Northwest Georgia with his hard work and dedication to detail. Even though baseball wasn’t played regularly in 2020 that does not stop mother nature from impacting our field work. Brooks still had to do most of the same work to the field that is done in years that games are played.

Question: And what about you? This is your premiere season as general manager as 2020 was paused. What has it been like for you, waiting all these days to play ball at a new venue.

Answer: I was obviously disappointed as it was my first year not working a baseball season in over 22 years. However, it did bring a lot of things into perspective for me. I realized how much our team means to this community and how I can use my time away from the game to better myself as a leader and person in the community. I am really excited to safely bring baseball back to our greater Rome region because I have been able to see with perspective the healing nature it can have on so many people.

For more about the start of the 2021 season, please click here to view our daily Truett’s Chick-fil-A Sports Report.


Share Button

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.