Generals have something for everyone
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VICTORIA GENERALS AT-A-GLANCE
League: Texas Collegiate League
Championships: 2 regular season (2009, 2010), 1 overall (2010)
Owner: Tracy Young; GM: Blake Koch
Coaches: Chris Clemons (2009-2010, 2012); Ryan Wagner (2011)
Home field: Riverside Stadium
BY ALBERT ALVARADO
Baseball teams usually take a long season one game at a time.
For the Victoria Generals, this approach has worked both on the field for the players and upstairs for the front office.
In four short years, the Generals have established themselves as both a local institution and one of the premiere summer entertainment options in the community.
“Our whole philosophy is you try to get them out there once and if they love it, they’ll get hooked,” said Generals general manager Blake Koch.
Koch said one of the biggest reasons the team has drawn crowds and done well at the gate is the grassroots approach that management takes toward establishing a fan base and improving the overall game day atmosphere.
At any given game, fans can be entertained with more than just the game. The team has opened up a kid’s zone this season, and offers an assortment of family friendly activities.
“It’s really the grassroots stuff, (being) one-on-one with people, word of mouth and all that kind of things that promotes the team the best,” Koch said.
The Generals are the local affiliate of the Texas Collegiate League team, which hosts collegiate talent, most often from Texas schools, but often from around the country, aspiring to get better at their craft during the summer months following the conclusion of the college season.
Collegiate league rosters are filled with an assortment of players, from college stars to junior college players looking to transfer, from players who spent a year as a red shirt to some coming back from injuries and looking to get back on track.
It also helps that the team has established a winning tradition. Coming into the 2012 season, the Generals have won a TCL championship and made both the championship series and the playoffs twice.
Several former players have gone on to be drafted into the Majors, including notable picks Bryson Myles (third round in 2011 to Cleveland) and Victoria native Roman Madrid (seventh round in 2012 to San Diego).
The team is managed by Chris Clemons, an assistant coach at McLennan Community College and a former first-round draft pick from Texas A&M University. The team has also been coached by Yoakum native and Rice alum Ryan Wagner.
In addition to traditional baseball promotions like the dizzy bat race, the Generals have other promotions for select games like a pre-game happy hour; a beer batter and a children’s play area along the left field line.
The team also has a party deck, which serves alcohol along the first base line for the more casual fans.
Occasionally, the team will team up with other local businesses to back the ballpark. One of these nights was the Caterpillar night in June.
During the promotion, the Generals and Caterpillar offered the public free admission to the game against The Woodlands Strykers.
“We thought what better way than to sponsor a night at the Victoria Generals and invite everybody out for some good baseball,” said Caterpillar communications and public affairs manager Tiffany Morrison.
The Generals play their home games at Riverside Stadium in Riverside Park. The TCL season’s run from June to mid-August every year.
Other attractions in the vicinity of the stadium include the Riverside golf course and the Texas Zoo.