BY BRIAN BOSEH
Your home team is back! The eighth season at BB&T Ballpark and the 104th for the Winston-Salem franchise is here.
Earlier this month, the Dash announced another exciting promotional schedule. The Dash are bringing back their beloved weekly promotions, including the following:
- Thirsty Thursdays, presented by Lowes Foods. Select beers will be available for just $1 throughout the seventh inning.
- Fireworks Fridays, during which the Dash put on a spectacular fireworks show following every Friday home game (as well as Thursday, April 13th, Tuesday, July 4th and Saturday, July 22nd).
- Family Sundays, presented by Lowes Foods, will include hot dogs and sodas at just $1 through the first inning, and a couple of players will sign autographs before the game on the concourse.
- Kids Run the Bases, powered by New Balance Winston-Salem, where youngsters can run the bases after all Friday, Saturday and Sunday games.
Other family outings include Daddy-Daughter Date Night on June 23rd and August 11th, which includes two Dash tickets, two hot dogs and soda vouchers, a pregame on-field photo and Dash hats for only $32. A similar offer, Mother-Son Date Night, will be available on July 21st.
This year’s promotional slate also features a litany of fun food-related events. On April 15th, May 20th, June 24th, July 8th and August 5th, the team is offering its Chick-fil-A Four-Pack Night deal. For as low as $32, you receive four tickets, along with four Dash hats and four chicken sandwich vouchers redeemable at the Chick-fil-A at Thruway Shopping Center on Knollwood Street in Winston-Salem.
On a related note, the Dash are celebrating eight food-related holidays: “National Eat What You Want Day” on May 11th, “National BBQ Day” on May 16th, “National Hamburger Day” on May 31st, “National Iced Tea Day” on June 10th, “National Chocolate Day” on July 7th, “National Ice Cream Sundae Day” on July 20th, and “National Hot Dog Day” plus “National Cotton Candy Day” on July 31st.
There is still plenty of time to buy tickets before our first home game on April 13th! Single-game tickets and season-ticket packages are available by calling 336.714.2287 or visiting www.WSDash.com.
The Dash’s importance to the community stretches well beyond the games. While BB&T Ballpark houses all 71 Dash home contests, the facility is used year-round. The team’s amateur baseball program allowed 19 teams this season to be featured at the ballpark. This includes Winston-Salem State University’s 21-game home schedule. Also, in the past 365 days, BB&T Ballpark has hosted more than 250 non-game day events, including movie nights, proms, receptions and weddings.
In 2017, the Dash will host a pair of Youth Baseball Academy sessions at BB&T Ballpark, including the first five-day program is team history. Baseball players between the ages of 5 and 12 will interact with Dash players and coaches while improving their hitting, pitching and baseball skills at the downtown facility.
It is important to note, too, that the team’s community involvement is not limited to ballpark events. The organization works with various elementary schools in the Triad as part of the Dash MVP Education Program. The incentive-based program uses the analogy of advancing around the baseball diamond to encourage students to strive for academic excellence.
On the field, the Dash are fresh off a 2016 campaign during which several players reigned atop the Carolina League in key statistical categories. For the second time in the last five years, the Dash boasted the two top hitters in the circuit. Mason Robbins posted a league-best .314 average, while Nick Basto finished with a .306 mark. On the rubber, Dash right-hander Jordan Stephens notched 155 strikeouts, the most by a Winston-Salem hurler in Dash history. The team also saw short stints from right-hander Zack Burdi and catcher Zack Collins, the White Sox first-round picks in 2016.
Last year marked another milestone year for BB&T Ballpark. In July, the downtown facility surpassed two million fans to become the second-quickest facility in Class A-Advanced history to hit that plateau.
This season, the Dash will have a former World Series champion at the helm. Willie Harris, a member of the Chicago White Sox 2005 World Championship team, takes over as the 46th manager in Winston-Salem’s franchise history. A 12-year veteran in the Major Leagues, the 38-year-old spent four campaigns with the White Sox from 2002-2005. His final appearance with Chicago came in Game 4 of the Fall Classic when he scored the contest’s only run to help clinch the team’s first title in 88 years. Including Chicago, Harris played 1,046 games for seven different teams.
The White Sox farm system, according to MLB.com, is ranked the third-best in baseball, so fans can expect another exciting season of America’s pastime in the Triad, both on and off the field!