23 for 23: The Fan Experience

Counting down to Opening Day with things to look for in 2017

By Lynchburg Hillcats | March 17, 2017 3:13 PM ET

In anticipation of the 23rd season as the Lynchburg Hillcats, the team is counting down 23 new things fans will experience during the 2017 season. Keep checking back as the Hillcats release one item each day leading up to Opening Day, April 6 at 6:30 p.m!

#2: Parking lot - A freshly paved & expanded parking lot is waiting for cars to arrive Thursday for Opening Day!!! By expanding the lot to the former site of the Lynchburg Humane Society, hundreds of spaces have been added! Plus, the entire lot will be completely paved & brightly illuminated with new lights to drastically improve parking at 2017 Hillcats games!!!

#3: New VIP Seating - City Stadium will feature two new rows of VIP seating behind home plate, coming in June! The section will feature bigger seats with tables between them as well as in-seat service! Only 3 days until Opening Day, this Thursday at 6:30 pm!!!

#4: New In-Game Promotions - Come out to City Stadium to see many different in-game promotions, including the Seven Hills Shuffle. Plus, the 'Merica Race presented by Fifth & Federal Station features three mascots racing to the finish line at Calvin Falwell Field!!

#5: New LOVE sign - Our unique baseball-themed LOVE sign is located in the 1st base terrace area. It's 65 & sunny, so today's a great day to come to FanFest at 2 pm & be 1 of the 1st to take your picture with it!!! Make sure to let us know when you do by using #LOVEcats and #TraditionRoarsOn!

#6: Safer netting system - Our new net features a higher quality material and also extends to the ends of the dugouts to increase fan safety! You can see it for yourself tomorrow at FanFest, 2-6 pm!!!

#7: New Souvenir Store - The souvenir store has moved to the 3rd base side of City Stadium & is fully stocked with lots of new gear featuring the Hillcats' new colors and logos! Open 9 am - 5 pm Monday - Friday, it will also be open for FanFest on Saturday and all home games. Only 7 days to Opening Day!

#8: Expanded Party Deck/3rd Base Picnic Area - Featuring local craft beers and serving up to 300 people per night, the expanded group area is a perfect place for a big outing at the ballpark! Space can be divided into sections to accommodate multiple, smaller groups as well! Call (434) 528-1144 to ask about our numerous options for group outings and picnics!

#9: '80s Week! - We'll host '80s-themed promotions every night July 24-30, including Karate Kid Night and Hair Metal Night! We'll give away 1,000 fanny packs July 28, and July 29 is a Fireworks Night along with Lynchburg Mets Night where the team will wear special jerseys and auction them off during the game!

#10: Dog Friendly - We're allowing dogs at every game! They will be restricted to Sections 1 and 4 in the seating areas. We will have watering stations and a waste area available on the 1st base side of City Stadium. Tickets are $2 for pets and a portion of the proceeds go to Lynchburg Humane Society! You must sign a waiver the 1st time you bring your pet to the ballpark, and then it's valid for the rest of the season

#11: Hit the Books Reading Program - Southpaw continues to visit area schools on a nearly daily basis throughout March. Currently, he'll have visited 37 schools by Opening Day! However, he's still looking to add more schools to his list. Students at schools that Southpaw visits can complete the "Hit the Books" reading program to receive 2 free tickets to a select Hillcats game! E-mail mrettig@lynchburg-hillcats for more info.

#12: Show Me the Money - Each home game we will randomly draw the seat number of a full-season ticket holder in the 8th inning. If that person is in their seat, they will win $25! If the person is not present, the money will be added to the pot for the next game, meaning the total could grow to $50, $75, $100, etc! 

#13: New coaches... kind of - Pitching coach Rigo Beltran and athletic trainer Bobby Ruiz are returning to Lynchburg. Plus, new manager Tony Mansolino was once a Hillcat, but that was as a player in '07 & '08. Hitting coach Kevin Howard will be a completely new face. Last year's Carolina League Manager of the Year Mark Budzinski will manage Double-A Akron.

#14: Muncheez - A grilled cheese stand in the third-base concourse area offers a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, including a bacon grilled cheese and a steak grilled cheese sandwich.

#15: Starr Hill Draft Room - This all-new event space can hold up to 50 people on both gamedays & non-gamedays and has Starr Hill Brewery craft brews along with Stubborn craft sodas and wine available. Featuring adaptable seating, a full catering menu & 5 HDTVs with a/v connections, the Draft Room offers the versatility to host either a professional meeting or a fun gathering at the ballpark!

#16: Diamond Dig presented by Bowen Jewelry Company - On June 11, all fans 18 or older will have a chance to purchase a spoon at the game and dig up the infield after the contest in search of a diamond ring from long-time partner Bowen Jewelry Company!

#17: New Fun Zone - Relocated to the first-base concourse area, an expanded Kids Zone features three brand-new inflatables. The Kids Zone will now have an obstacle course to go along with speed pitch and a bounce house. Furthermore, kids will now be able to purchase unlimited-use wristbands to enjoy the Kids Zone all game long for only $5!

#18: New Uniforms - With four different colored jerseys & three variations of caps, the Hillcats have the potential for 18 unique uniform combinations in 2017! In addition to the traditional home whites and road grays, the Hillcats will also sport alternate green and navy blue tops this year.

#19: FANtastic Giveaways - All 11 Friday home games will feature giveaways at City Stadium, including T-shirts, a team flag and a drawstring bag. Some new items on the giveaway list this year include a team scarf on April 21 and a fanny pack as part of 80s week on July 28. See the full season of promotions here.

#20: Daily promos - The Hillcats' season-long daily promotions include 11 Sparkling Saturday Fireworks Nights and 11 FANtastic Friday giveaways!! The team is also bringing back popular season-long promotions, such as Winning Wednesdays and Thirsty Thursdays, while adding new themes to the calendar like Meow Mondays and 2Fur Tuesdays. You can read more details here or you can visit our promotions calendar.

#21: New Merchandise - The Hillcats have a wide range of caps, shirts and hoodies featuring the team's new colors and logos. Additionally, the Hillcats have added new categories to the inventory they offer, including jerseys and bandanas for pets! The souvenir store is open at City Stadium Monday-Friday 9 am - 5 pm, and fans can purchase the new merchandise anytime online.

#22: Southpaw 2.0 - The team's new primary mascot will be entertaining fans at City Stadium throughout 2017. Fans will still see the original Southpaw various times throughout the year. However, Southpaw 2.0, a bright-colored "exotic shorthair" with a big smile and youthful energy, became the team's new mascot when he was adopted from the Lynchburg Humane Society. Southpaw 2.0 has already been active in the community, making various appearances around Lynchburg and also visiting more than 30 schools as part of the Hillcats "Hit The Books" reading program. 

#23: Reduced ticket prices - The Hillcats have simplified the pricing structure to two price points for 2017. All General Admission tickets, which are good for the bleacher sections on the first and third-base side of City Stadium, are just $6. All chairback seats for single games are $9. Admission is free for all children who are four-years-old or younger.  Purchase tickets here

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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