Taking the Game to a Whole New LevelThat was moving from the playing field to the front office. “I’ve gotten a paycheck working in baseball my whole career, so I’ve been pretty fortunate.”
Q: What have been the major changes since Oldsmobile Park opened in Lansing?
A: I’ve only been here since 2007 but I understand years ago the area was kind of scary. People were afraid or unwilling to come downtown. Now there’s lots of foot traffic and things to do. The Lugnuts also couldn’t be more supportive of the Stadium District Project. It’s nice to see cranes in the air, really. This is the capital city and we’re in the heartbeat of downtown.
Q: When some think of a job in the sports industry, they think more fun and play than business. How accurate is that perception?
A: Not very! Sure it’s fun, but the travel and the hours can be overwhelming. I can’t credit our staff enough. Some are in as early as 8:30 in the morning and they don’t leave until nearly midnight. Then they turn around and do it all again. It’s easy for people to get caught up in the challenges of a job; but when you can sit back and feel you’ve made someone’s day a little brighter, it’s all worth it.
Q: Has the economy affected business?
A: Amazingly, we’re seeing even more people come out. A normal year would see 250,000 ticketholders. Last year that number was 353,000 and this is the second year we’ve seen an increase in attendance. We’ve also worked to keep baseball affordable for families, offering various food discounts. People are looking to save money where they can, and a trip to Oldsmobile Park is a lot cheaper than a trip to Comerica Park.
Q: Who or what is responsible for the growing popularity of the Lugnuts?
A: It’s the vision of the team’s owners, Tom Dickson and Sherrie Myers. They’re trendsetters in the industry. They run the team as a business first and team second. The Lugnuts are the first Single A team to ever draw more than a half million people.
Q: What services do you offer the community?
A: We do a lot of corporate picnics. It’s a game ticket and a buffet-style meal for $21 a head—pretty affordable. We also do birthday parties and rent out suites. Group business is extremely popular. Some 80,000 people come in each year from church, club or school groups.
Q: Do you have control over the players?
A: No, I handle business/marketing decisions. Everything that goes on “between the lines” is handled by the Blue Jays. They don’t tell me how to sell tickets and I don’t tell them how to win games.
Current Position: General Manager, Lansing Lugnuts
Education: 1997 graduate of Concord Colege in West Virginia with a degree in mass communications/public relations.
Family: Married to Michigan native Erica Alvarado. The couple live in Delta Township and have three dogs: Theodore, Jackson, and Felix.