BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The Biloxi Shuckers played their final game of 2019 at MGM Park on Wednesday night. The Shuckers lost to the Jackson Generals 6-2 in game 2 of the Southern League Championship Series. Now with the best of five series tied 1-1, the team hits the road to Jackson, Tennessee, for the final games of the Championship Series.
For Shuckers fans, going to the games has become a tradition, and it’s a winning tradition for Patrick Ainsworth and his wife.
“On our honeymoon, this is where we decided to come for our honeymoon, to a Biloxi Shuckers game. We won that game and we haven’t lost a game as long as me and her has been here together,” Ainsworth said.
Even though baseball season is ending, it’s always been the hope of city leaders to see activity in the stadium even when it’s not baseball season. While the team has been a hit on the scoreboard, the effort to recruit off season events is a struggle.
“Unfortunately if you look at the batting average for the entertainment events that have been in there, non-baseball, it would be a tepid batting average,” said Biloxi Public Affairs Manager Vincent Creel.
Part of the pitch to build the $36 million stadium was its ability to host non-baseball events like concerts, but between now and the Shuckers first game of 2020, only one non-baseball event is scheduled. That’s the Biloxi Craft Beer Festival in March.
“Mayor Gilich has had conversations with other concert venues where they operate amphitheaters, but the big challenge is that six months is the only time you can use it,” Creel said.
While non-baseball events may be off limits during the baseball season, according to Creel, the Shuckers are working to bring more games to the stadium. Over the last year outside of the Conference USA Tournament, MGM Park didn’t host any Division one midweek college games.
“What we’re excited about is the Shuckers having more of a role in what happens over there, whether it’s involving bringing in Major League teams more or bringing in more college baseball,” Creel said. “They believe baseball is the highest and best use.”
While the work to find other events for MGM Park continues into the off season, the fans are just enjoying the ride to what they hope is a Southern League Championship.
“I’m excited; I think they’ve got it, and I think they’re going to go all the way,” Ainsworth said.
The City of Biloxi can host 10 events a year at MGM Park.
Game 3 of the Southern League Championship Series between the Shuckers and Generals is set for Friday at 7:05 p.m. in Jackson.