The Fort Worth Cats baseball club is a business that could benefit from the patronage of cyclists – if the club makes an effort to accommodate them.
On Wednesday evening, Mayor Betsy Price led one of her “rolling town hall” bicycle rides, which started and ended at LaGrave Field. The 10-mile ride on trails along the Trinity River was timed to end before the 7:05 p.m. start of the Cats’ season-opener against Rio Grande Valley so that the mayor could throw out the first pitch.
The Cats’ management provided free parking for cyclists who drove to LaGrave Field for the ride, and there was talk before the ride of a bike corral, where cyclists who rode to the field could park their bikes if they wanted to stay for the game.
Unfortunately, there was no bike corral and security personnel seemed to know nothing about it. I had ridden from home on the Near South Side to take part in the mayor’s ride and had planned to stay for the game. But with no secure place to park my bike, I decided to skip the game and ride home.
I wondered if the Cats’ management realized that LaGrave Field could be a great summertime draw for cyclists who might ride together to the field, park their bikes in a secure spot, enjoy a game and a fireworks display and then ride home.
So I called the Cats and had a satisfying conversation with Nate Dwelle, the Cats’ spokesman.
It turns out that the ball club does have plans to cater to cyclists, and Nate even threw out a tentative plan for a “Go Green” game on June 3, a Sunday, when environmentalism would be promoted and cyclists would be encouraged to come to the game on their bikes.
Nate apologized for the lack of a bike corral or racks on Wednesday evening. He said the mayor’s ride was arranged on short notice with little time to set up racks or a corral.
I pointed out to Nate that an increasing number of local businesses and events are catering to cyclists and cited as an example the bike corrals at the Main St. Arts Festival in downtown Fort Worth in April and at the Crowne Plaza Invitational golf tournament this weekend at Colonial Country Club.
I suggested that he get in touch with the local cycling clubs to spread the word that cyclists would be welcome at LaGrave Field and would be accommodated. We talked of the possibility of games offering discounted tickets to cyclists or maybe a free hotdog.
I suggested that a group I ride with, the Night Riders, might consider a Sunday night ride to LaGrave for a game.
Nate seemed very receptive to all of my suggestions and seemed eager to follow through on them.
The Cats, under new ownership this season, play in the South Division of the North American League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. They have 56 home games scheduled this season, with the final game on Sept. 3.
So cyclists will have plenty of opportunities to take in a game and test out the promised amenities at LaGrave Field.
Here’s hoping that the Cats are one more local business that recognizes bicyclists as a growing segment of their customer base and that cyclists tend to patronize places where they are welcomed.