Arkansas Travelers Embrace Changes Following Firings

by Todd Traub  on Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 12:00 am  

It began with a rainout. It ended with a championship series.

That’s baseball.

In their first season after a front-office shakeup in November, the Arkansas Travelers endured some highs and lows.

On the surface, things looked much the same under new General Manager Paul Allen as they were under Pete Laven, the former Texas League Executive of the Year who was fired almost a year ago in a surprise move by team President Russ Meeks, with the support of the team’s executive committee.

Professional, wood-bat baseball was played. Future major leaguers came and went. Special events and promotions drew their usual, larger-than-average crowds.

But it is clear the Travelers are in the midst of a transition.

“You’ve got to always be looking for that next step,” said Allen, who was promoted from assistant general manager after Laven was sacked.

Allen faced one of his toughest decisions on opening night, when he was forced to call the game because of rain and play a doubleheader the next evening.

The rainout was a sign of things to come as the Travelers lost five dates to rain, the worst rainy season in the Texas League.

“Thursday was always rain day,” said Allen, who began as a Travs intern in 2005.

The rainouts contributed to a drop in attendance, from 308,109 and an average 4,531 last season to 293,749 this year and an average 4,519, second-worst in the Texas League.

“If we’d had two more games, that would have been huge,” Allen said. “It affects your overall attendance, but in the end, if people come out and have a good time, that’s all that matters.”



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