What it takes to hold Game Day at Greater Nevada Field

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:48 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “Today is someone’s first day to Greater Nevada Field,” said Reno Aces Chief Operating Officer, Doug Raftery.

Honesty. Opportunity. Memories. Energy. HOME. It’s the acronym that keeps the staff at Greater Nevada Field going during game day.

When the Reno Aces return home for one of their six game homestands a lot of time and effort goes into making the fan experience homey.

“What’s 15 times 7?” said Leah Withrow, head groundskeeper, of the number of hours she works each day each week. ]

“You’re probably looking around 70-80 hours or so,” Raftery said of his schedule.

Withrow and Raftery are just two of the major components to the success of game day.

“When the team’s in town it’s more routine, it’s more scheduled,” Withrow said of her routine.

Addressing spots where there’s wear and tear, mowing the grass in front, and on the field, edging, and getting it all together three hours before first pitch are just some of her duties.

“There’s thousands of dollars of fertilizer and water going into this field,” said Withrow.

The goal on the field maintenance side is to have the diamond looking nice, playing nice, and wearing nice.

For Raftery, who runs all over the building getting things ready, responsibilities are a little different.

“We will get this entire building together and review each of the six games (on the homestand) in about as much detail as you can go into,” he said.

What fans see when they come in was done at least a week in advance. Sometimes months. A different promotion means certain available product. Going over public address scripts, making sure the scoreboard and graphics are working, building shout outs for birthdays and groups, plugging sponsors are part of Raftery’s obligations.

“It keeps us on our toes to say the least and we are always thinking of things,” he said.

Keeping the fan experience fresh and fun for new attendees while bringing stability and familiarity to returning fans is a unique balance.

Then there’s food. And drinks. And a lot of it.

Just ordering fresh batches of chicken tenders and fries because fans wanted them - a new product - takes time. There needs to be enough employees to handle all that.

“Call it near 200 (employees) especially on max capacity nights where we’re all hands on deck,” Raftery said of the workload.

While many people in the community work 40 hours a week, the people at GNF are doubling that.

“The opportunity that we have to interact with our community is really neat,” Raftery said of why he and his staff put in so many hours.

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