The Chattanooga Lookouts continue to be in midseason form at the turnstiles despite coronavirus-related limitations, and next week has the biggest lineup of the season to date.
Chattanooga hosts the Birmingham Barons in a six-game series that starts Tuesday night, with Friday designated "Superhero Night" and including postgame fireworks. The following game will be "Joey Votto Bobblehead Night" and continue the team's promotion of giving away a used car at every Saturday home game this season.
AT&T Field will remain at 70% capacity — roughly 4,500 spectators — next week, with the Lookouts having sold out 16 of their first 18 home games at 40% capacity and four of 10 under their current restriction guideline.
"It's been amazing," Lookouts president Rich Mozingo said. "As the summer goes on, it gets a little tougher and tougher to draw here, but it's been fantastic."
It's been quiet, however, on the efforts of Lookouts co-owners Jason Freier and John Woods to land a new Lookouts ballpark at the 141-acre former U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site. Knoxville is moving forward with a new downtown home for the Tennessee Smokies, with Gov. Bill Lee including $13.5 million in the state's 2021-22 administrative budget for the proposed $65 million stadium that would anchor, according to Smokies owner Randy Boyd, $142 million in new investments.
A new Chattanooga stadium with a similar developmental objective would be mostly funded by taxpayers with help from Freier's Hardball Capital.
"We're having great conversations with people who matter in town, and people are really excited about the possibility of doing something with that site," Mozingo said. "This is a development tool for the city of Chattanooga. If you go out and build a baseball stadium and can't develop anything else around it, it really doesn't make a lot of sense.
"If you can put a stadium down that serves as an anchor for development around it, then we think it makes a lot of sense. We're having a lot of great, substantive conversations, and that ball is still moving forward. Hopefully, it will keep moving forward and we'll have something to talk about here in the not-too-distant future."
Of course, the immediate future is about making the most of this 120-game season that has passed the midway mark. The Lookouts will have fireworks after every Friday home game and are still scouring ways to provide the best bang for the buck.
That includes "Superhero Night," when Mozingo is always hard to beat in the costume department.
"I have a Mr. Incredible outfit that I've worn every year," Mozingo said. "If you've seen the movie, in the beginning, when Mr. Incredible is really out of shape and puts on his old costume — that's exactly how mine fits."