After the lease agreement was signed between the city of Jackson and the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, I was able to ask some questions to David Lozinak, Vice President of Administration for the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx. A special thank you to David for taking time out of his schedule to answer some questions. Special appreciation is also extended to Jeff Parker, General Manager for the Diamond Jaxx, for helping to set up this session. The Diamond Jaxx have been great to NSBB and we look forward to working with them in the 2006 season!
Interview with David Lozinak, Vice President of Administration for the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx
The question everyone wants to know: Can and will baseball survive in Jackson? Will it be possible for both sides (the city and the Jaxx organization) to move forward after everything that has happened in the past?
BASEBALL CAN SURVIVE IN JACKSON, BUT ONLY IF THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY WANTS IT TO WORK. BASEBALL WILL NOT SURVIVE IF IT IS FORCED UPON THE COMMUNITY TO MAKE IT WORK, THEY HAVE TO WANT TO MAKE IT WORK. WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD AN OUTSTANDING WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CITY, DESPITE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT MAY BE WRITTEN OR HEARD IN THE MEDIA. WHENEVER WE HAVE HAD ANY PROBLEMS WITH THE FACILITY, WHETHER IT BE ELECTRICAL, PLUMBING, HEATING/COOLING, REFUSE REMOVAL, ETC..., THE CITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN VERY ACCESSIBLE AND PROMPT IN THEIR RESPONSE.
How close did the organization come to relocating to Macon during the stadium lease discussions?
WE CAME AS CLOSE AS THE CITY CAME TO EVICTING US FROM PRINGLES PARK, NOTHING CLOSER. WE WERE FORCED TO TRY TO FIND A LOCATION TO PLAY OUR GAMES BY THE CITY OF JACKSON BY THEIR POTENTIAL EVICTION NOTICE, WE HAD NOT CONSIDERED MACON PRIOR TO RECEIPT OF THAT NOTICE.
Biggest success since being in Jackson?
I'D SAY IT'S PROBABLY BEEN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OUR NEW MASCOT, RIBBEE. HE HAS BEEN SUCH A SUCCESS WITH THE KIDS IN THE BALLPARK AND THE COMMUNITY.
Most pressing goal for the organization?
TICKET AND ADVERTISING SALES FOR THE 2006 SEASON
What are your thoughts on media coverage in Jackson? How does Jackson compare to other cities in regards to media coverage? What about the television coverage?
MEDIA COVERAGE HAS IMPROVED TREMENDOUSLY SINCE WE FIRST ARRIVED HERE, THOUGH NATURALLY WE'D STILL LIKE TO SEE A BIT MORE. BASED ON OUR EXPERIENCE IN ABQ AND ALTOONA, THERE REALLY IS NO COMPARISON BETWEEN HERE AND THOSE CITIES. THOSE CITIES SEEMED TO GET WHAT IT MEANT TO HAVE A MINOR LEAGUE TEAM AND COVERED IT APPROPRIATELY, BOTH AT HOME(ALWAYS) AND ON THE ROAD(SOMETIMES). WE'D LIKE TO SEE MORE HUMAN INTEREST STORIES DONE ON OUR PLAYERS SO FANS COULD GET TO KNOW THEM BETTER, BUT WE ARE GLAD TO GET WHATEVER COVERAGE WE GET. THE TELEVISION COVERAGE OF OUR GAMES HERE HAS BEEN PRETTY GOOD, WITH HIGHLIGHTS ALMOST ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO OUR FANS WHEN THE TEAM IS IN TOWN.
It's been an impression from many during the past 2 months that the Sun has given the ownership and stadium controversy a lot more attention than they ever gave the game on the field since the new ownership group took over. Thoughts?
IT WOULD BE NICE IF THEY COVERED THE GAMES AS WELL AS THEY HAVE COVERED THE LEASE SITUATION, BUT THAT IS THEIR BUSINESS DECISION.
When it was brought out that the lease which had been unanimously agreed on by the Jackson city council had not been signed, what threat did it have to the 2006 season for the Jaxx?
THE 2006 SEASON WOULD TAKE PLACE NO MATTER WHAT FOR THE JAXX.
How did the delay in the lease agreement affect the day to day operations of the Diamond Jaxx and how has the delay affected the preparations for the 2006 season?
IT HAS PUT OUR OPERATION BACK APPROXIMATELY 2 1/2 TO 3 MONTHS, SO IT BECOMES A STRUGGLE TO GET ALL THAT WORK ACCOMPLISHED IN THE SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME WE HAVE BEFORE THE SEASON STARTS.
How have the events from the past couple of months affected the longer-term planning of the organization? How far did the fact that it was almost impossible to make any multi-year plans set the organization back?
YOU CAN'T MAKE LONG-TERM PLANS SOMEWHERE IF YOU DON'T HAVE A LONG-TERM LEASE.
As I write this, there is a report that says that there could be an offer to buy the Jaxx within 5 days of the lease being signed. When was the first time that the idea of selling the team was considered? How close is the team from being sold?
EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD CAN BE PURCHASED, AND ANY BALLCLUB IS NO DIFFERENT. TALK IS CHEAP, BUT PUTTING MONEY WHERE THE TALK COMES FROM IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT STORY.
In the event that the team is sold, how would it affect the upcoming season and those currently employed by the Jaxx? What, if any, changes would take place?
THE GAMES WOULD STILL BE PLAYED HERE AT PRINGLES PARK, ANYTHING ELSE WOULD BE PURE SPECULATION.
If the team is sold, what advice would each of you give to the new owner(s) of the team and how could the sale of the team have been prevented? How would the sale of the team affect the 2006 season? What steps could have been done to support the organization under the Lozinak ownership?
THE TEAM IS NOT SOLD. BUY TICKETS AND USE THE TICKETS YOU BUY.
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