By MATT FULKS, tbonesbaseball.com
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – With temperatures in the mid-90s, it may have been the hottest night of the year but that didn't stop Craig Swisher from taking his son and daughter to watch the Kansas City T-Bones at CommunityAmerica Ballpark on Monday night.
Little did Swisher know he would be welcomed with open arms by the T-Bones staff, as he was the 3 millionth fan to see a T-Bones game at CommunityAmerica Ballpark — a feat that took only 12 years to accomplish.
“I was stunned; I knew it was significant but I didn’t realize how significant it was at the time,” said Swisher, of Gladstone, Mo., who says he attends two to three games each year.
Even with a major-league franchise like the Kansas City Royals across the state line, the T-Bones continue to post astonishing attendance numbers. The club is on pace in 2014 to draw more than 260,000 fans for the fifth consecutive season.
“Congratulations to the T-Bones on this remarkable milestone,” said Mayor Mark Holland. “The short timeframe that it took to reach this attendance number is a testimony to the quality product and fan experience the T-Bones constantly deliver. It's a fun, family friendly event that everyone can enjoy!”
Going into Monday night, the T-Bones had an American Association best 173,401 fans in 2014, with the next closest being Winnipeg with 146,488. For Kansas City that averages to 5,419 fans each game, which is second-best in the league. (Winnipeg has averaged 5,425 in 2014.)
Swisher will be rewarded for achieving Kansas City's monumental milestone with a prize pack that includes four T-Bones season tickets for life; an autographed, game-used base from CommunityAmerica Ballpark; a baseball autographed by T-Bones coach and Royals Hall of Fame player Frank White; $300 toward a savings account from CommunityAmerica Credit Union; a $100 gift card from Cabela’s; a gift certificate from Danny’s Bar & Grill; a phone from Verizon; a night’s stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kansas City, Kan.; among other prizes.
“It's incredible,” Swisher said, “and I'm so appreciative.”