A special Doubleday Field committee meeting on Monday began with trustee Jim Dean’s desire to lower rental fees, but ended 90 minutes later with most of the other members in agreement that it was a bad idea.
“I’d rather see us leave the rates alone and be far more proactive in marketing,” Vin Russo said.
Several members pointed out that the midweek rate for the field was lowered $100 last season, from $500 to $400, but that didn’t produce an increase in midweek rentals.
If fall games go as scheduled, Doubleday Field’s rentals will be 325 games this year, the same as it was in 2012. The number of games has dropped slightly the past two years. In 2009, for instance, it was 362 games.
The 2013 figures are skewed, however, because the field was closed in April and for four days in May for roof repairs.
Village deputy clerk Jennifer Truax, who handles reservations for the field, said that she always has a waiting list for weekend games.
“We certainly have a demand because I always have a waiting list for games Friday through Sunday,” she said. “The problem is we can’t make more weekends.”
Doubleday Field manager Quinton Hasak suggested that the field capacity could be increased to four games a day for tournament schedules, with tournament operators receiving a discount for adding the fourth game.
Currently the official game capacity is for three games per day, but some tournaments have been booking a fourth game. Truax said that in the past a fourth game had been given out for free to some operators, but that since she and Hasak have been working together, the fourth game must be paid for, and it is unofficially booked for some tournament rentals.
Tom Heitz, representing the group Friends of Doubleday Field, said that historically the field was used for community games and not as a source of revenue for the village. That changed in 1939 when the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum opened and Cooperstown became a destination for baseball fans.