RENO, NV - Step inside Aces Ballpark in downtown Reno and it feels like the place is just waiting for someone to yell "play ball."
The field looks in tip-top shape and apparently has for some time.
Everything else appears ready, but here and there, mostly behind the scenes there's a fair amount going on.
"It's the final clean," says Aces Chief Operating Officer Eric Edelstein. "It's wiping down the seats, It's power washing the place one more time. It's making sure every thing turns on that needs to turn on after a winter. It's all the final details that come into play."
A new season means dozens of jobs and some of those new employees were getting trained today.
In the kitchen, preparations are underway.
Ball park chow has, of course, long since moved beyond hot dogs and peanuts, into salads and the like, but the revolution continues.
"All the concession stands have something new, something exciting," says Edelstein. "New food products. We've got a wider selection of Carson City Sausage Factory products this year. A lot of new craft beers in the ball park. A lot of new dessert items."
One new addition is something the fans will likely never see, a special room behind the centerfield fence. A humidor for baseballs.
Some parks in high and dry climates like Reno have long had a reputation for being tough on pitchers, great for long ball hitters. The aim of the humidor is to level that field.
Which brings us to the team.
"We've got a very veteran club this year which is exciting at the Triple A level," says Edelstein. "You don't usually win with rookies in Triple A. It's a veteran league. Archie Bradley who is the top pitching prospect in all of baseball, a good offensive club. If the pitching comes together it's going to be a special season."
One thing they couldn't prepare for was the weather and to no longtime Reno baseball fan's surprise it doesn't look good for Thursday night's opener against El Paso.
But they do have a response in the form of a guarantee.
Apparently when new manager Phil Nevin asked about opening day attendance, he was told if the weather was good, the crowd would be good. If not, something less.
So, Edelstein says, Nevin made the offer if it's below 60 degrees at game time Thursday night, he'll buy a ticket for each fan to a game later in the season.
Best case scenario: You buy a ticket Thursday. The weather's great. So's the game.
Worst case scenario: It's cold (and Dick Stoddard practically guarantees it) You bundle up. See the game and get a two-fer, a free ticket to be used later on.
The Aces play the UNR Wolf Pack in an exhibition game Tuesday night at 6:05.
The opener against El Paso is Thursday night at 6:35.