Stadium workers get an early start

By: Troy Schulte
Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Ken Smith, from Pine Bluff, looks for tickets prior to last season's Arkansas-Memphis game at Dickey-Stephens Park. The Razorbacks will be making their third annual trip to North Little Rock on Tuesday, playing host to Louisiana Tech.
Photo by Karen E. Segrave
Ken Smith, from Pine Bluff, looks for tickets prior to last season's Arkansas-Memphis game at Dickey-Stephens Park. The Razorbacks will be making their third annual trip to North Little Rock on Tuesday, playing host to Louisiana Tech.

The Arkansas Travelers still have two weeks until their home opener, but their stadium staff and a group of about a dozen interns will be put through a dry run tonight.

Approximately 1 ,800 general admission tickets remained Tuesday afternoon for tonight’s college baseball game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and Mississippi Valley State at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.

For the Travelers’ game day staff, the game represents as much spring training as they’ll get before the team has its home opener April 10 against Frisco.

“It kind of gets us in game mode a couple of weeks early,” Travs General Manager Paul Allen said. “It’s a big game, so it’s really up to us to be super prepared. It’s having one of the bigger games right off the bat.”

Allen said he expected the Razorbacks’ annual visit to central Arkansas to be a sellout by the time the first pitch is thrown at 6:30 p.m. That means more than 10,000 are expected to pass through the turnstiles for the first time this season,and any number of issues could pop up.

It’s a golden opportunity for the staff, six stadium operations interns and a handful of office interns to work out the kinks before the Travs’ 70-game Texas League home schedule begins next month.

“Generally, you’re not a well-oiled machine at this point,” Allen said. “Give us two weeks and we’re cruising. It’s one of those that kind of fast-forwards us into game shape.”

Tonight’s game will mark the fifth consecutive year Arkansas has played at Dickey-Stephens Park, after its game against Louisiana Tech in 2010 ended a 24-year absence playing in the area.

An announced crowd of 9,426 - at the time a park record - saw Arkansas beat Louisiana Tech 5-4 on May 11, 2010, and the Razorbacks are 4-0 at Dickey-Stephens since then. Arkansas defeated Memphis in 2011, Louisiana Tech in 2012 and Mississippi Valley State in 2013. The average attendance for those games was 9,821.

The Razorbacks escaped with a victory last year against the Delta Devils when reliever Jalen Beeks worked out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the ninth inning to preserve the victory.

Today’s game

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE VS. ARKANSAS WHEN 6:35 p.m.

WHERE Dickey-Stephens Park, North Little Rock RECORDS Arkansas 15-8. Mississippi Valley State 1-22.

TICKETS General admission $12.

TV Cox Sports Television, Channel 119, in Northwest Arkansas.

RADIO RSP statewide radio network.

Not all games will be carried by affiliates. Check local listings.

INTERNET arkansasrazorbacks.com and ESPN3

Sports, Pages 19 on 03/26/2014

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