Season Ticket Plan Means Family Memories for Bugajskis
By Fort Wayne TinCaps | February 1, 2019 10:28 AM
It happened on a Sunday in September.
The Bugajski family -- mom (Trish), dad (Ken), and then 8-year-old daughter (Krystka) -- came out to Parkview Field to see the TinCaps in a must-win Midwest League Playoff game. Not only did Fort Wayne win the game on its way to eventually claiming the 2009 Midwest League title, in the process, the TinCaps' game experience won over the Bugajskis.
"We had such a good time that we thought -- maybe we should see how much a ticket package would cost," said Ken Bugajski, who works at the University of Saint Francis as an English professor and directs the school's honors program.
Sure enough, the Bugajskis purchased a 12-game ticket plan for the 2010 season. A decade later, they now have a half-season package -- 35 games at Parkview Field every year in Section 109, just behind home plate.
"Sometimes friends will ask why we go to so many games," said Trish, who also works at Saint Francis as the school's associate vice president for academic affairs. "My usual answer is that it is not really about the baseball. We know that on game days, we will have 2-3 hours together where we can talk, enjoy the evening together, and forget about other worries or responsibilities. It is like a little mini-vacation throughout the summer."
"Vacation" highlights include going on the field after Sunday games for player autographs, the annual Turn the Park Pink game supporting the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, and the Fourth of July game plus fireworks. Krystka's favorite ballpark snack is popcorn, especially on US Food Family Feast Mondays when it's only $1. Trish prefers the Taco Salad. Ken is an Apple Dumpling dessert guy. Meanwhile, it's unanimous that they enjoy the Bad Apple Dancers and can't miss Saturday nights when QuickChange comes to visit.
Ultimately, though, it's the personable staff at Parkview Field that keeps them coming back.
"The TinCaps' customer service is consistently excellent," Ken said. "We have always had good experiences with the TinCaps. On the few times where we have had an experience that was less than ideal, we know we can voice a concern and that it will be taken seriously. We know we will be taken care of, because the organization puts so much emphasis on creating a good fan experience."
For TinCaps President Mike Nutter, that's the organization's biggest goal.
"In Minor League Baseball, we don't have a say in who's on the team and whether or not we'll win a lot of games," Nutter said. "But we strive to make sure Parkview Field is a place for the entire community, welcoming people of all backgrounds. We appreciate anyone who takes the time to come through the gates here, like the Bugajski family, and we feel strongly that it's our obligation to serve them with the utmost respect and do everything within our power to make TinCaps games an affordable, family-friendly, fun time for everyone."
The affordability of season tickets was a key part of the attraction for the Bugajskis. Through the first 10 years of Parkview Field the TinCaps have been recognized as the most outstanding organization in Minor League Baseball and Parkview Field has perennially been rated as the top ballpark experience in the Minors, yet tickets remain the lowest-priced for professional sports in the region. In fact, tickets and concessions combined could cost less than parking for a major league game.
The Bugajskis also appreciate other benefits of being season-ticket holders. Besides knowing they'll have the same seat for each game, it also helps that if there's a game they can't make, they can utilize the team's online system that enables fans to transfer tickets to others at the push of a button. Whether with a 12-game plan, 17-game option, or a half-season, season-ticket holders have flexibility when it comes to their package.
Trish, Ken, and Krystka do enjoy the baseball aspect of TinCaps games, too, of course. At this point, dozens of the players they've watched at Parkview Field have reached the big leagues, including San Diego Padres starting catcher Austin Hedges, who they received a game-worn jersey from in 2012.
As the Bugajskis have seen players develop from anonymity in Single-A to major leaguers, their own Krystka has grown up as well. From first attending a game through the team's Reading Program when she was in elementary school to now being on the cusp of college, the TinCaps and Parkview Field have been a part of many special family memories along the way.
"Once college football is over, we start to look forward to the new baseball season and whatever it might bring," Ken said. "You never know what the team will be like, but we can count on quality family time and great service at Parkview Field."
Tickets to single games for the 2019 TinCaps season go on sale Wednesday, Feb. 13 (8 a.m.). Click here for the team's 2019 promotional schedule, and for more information on season ticket options, group outings, and more, click here.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.