MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As the Pelicans prepare to bring America's favorite pastime to BB&T Coastal Field Friday, area business leaders say baseball is bringing much more than just nine innings to the Grand Strand.
Pelicans' GM Scotty Brown says Myrtle Beach's status as an entertainment hub is a wonderful fit for minor league baseball. Joining the Pelicans this season, Brown says the beach was not only a draw for him, but for the whole franchise.
"Our players love to come here, too," Brown said. "Whether they're coming up and then even in some cases when they wouldn't be as happy when they're coming down from the level above, they're coming to Myrtle Beach," he said with a smile. "I mean, it could be a lot worse."
Brown says the first four games this year blew last year's ticket sales out of the water and even though the team is not exactly on a winning streak at 6-14, he says Pelicans baseball is about the business of entertainment and not just home runs.
"We want to win; it's a lot more fun to win," Brown said. "But a lot of people may not know whether we're winning or losing. They're coming out for the good time."
Browns says they work to make the event entertaining no matter what happens on the field for everyone in the stands.
"It brings the locals together with the tourists; it gives something for people to identify their town by," Brown explained. "Really it's a community binder."
It is that mix of tourists and locals that had some critics saying baseball at the beach would never last because of the reliance of visitors to sell tickets.
"Originally there was a lot of skepticism as to whether a minor league baseball team could succeed on the Grand Strand," Myrtle Beach Area Chamber President/CEO Brad Dean explained.
Dean says that now, however, the Pelicans are not only proving the critics they can succeed, but they are helping to fuel the success of the entire Grand Strand.
"When you can back up your sports activities with a great franchise like the Pelicans and bring other sports and other teams to the area," Dean said, "it offers a tremendous benefit to businesses small and large throughout the Grand Strand."
Dean says the Pelicans' willingness to be a team player, along with their formula for fun makes them a home run hitter in the Grand Strand.