Cavalry hopes to trump Aces with full house
BUILD it and they will come. To be specific, Canberra Cavalry hopes 2013 will come.
The Canberra Times has obtained an open letter from the Cavalry to the ACT's baseball fans imploring them to pack out Narrabundah Ballpark next weekend.
The Cavalry wants to set a new attendance record for ''The Fort'', breaking the 1950 spectators that packed it out on opening night.
A crowd target of 2013 has been made - to match the year the Cavs hope to feature in their first finals.
It marks a rapid back flip by the Australian Baseball League club, which was forced to cap crowds to 1500 less than two weeks ago due to a lack of infrastructure.
As revealed by The Canberra Times, the big crowd on opening night against arch rivals Sydney Blue Sox resulted in fans queueing for everything - to get in, drinks, hot dogs, toilets and merchandise.
Cavalry said it had ''burst at the seams'' and could not cope with the demand in just its third season in existence.
An SOS was sent to ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr and within days the Fort had more toilets, a new kitchen and an extra gate. Cavalry general manager Peter Bishell was confident Narrabundah could now cope and he invited Canberra to test it out on Saturday.
The Cavs will host Melbourne Aces for a four-game series beginning on Friday, with a double header on Saturday.
Bishell wanted a sea of orange to confront the team that knocked it out of last season's play-off race.
''We're targeting 2013 fans because it fits in with the theme of us being ready both on the field and off the field for success at the end of this [season] in 2013,'' he told The Canberra Times.
''If we break 2000 for the first time ever that's fantastic news for us.''
Bishell was surprised with how quickly the government reacted.
It meant the Cavalry could remove its crowd cap before it had been enforced at a single official ABL game at the Fort.
The ballpark will also undergo a $5 million redevelopment and planning begins at the end of the season.
Canberra hoped a promising start to the season by an exciting young team would bring the fans through the gates on Saturday.
It won its first game on the road, with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Brisbane Bandits at Redlands on Friday night.
Three runs in the third innings, combined with a solid outing by starter Brian Grening, was enough for the Canberra win.
The Cavalry lost the first game of a double header 1-0 to the Bandits on Saturday in a pitching duel.
Canberra starter Robert Dickmann gave up the only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth innings.
The three-game series finished late on Saturday night.