Jumbo Shrimp getting creative to fill gap without games

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Businesses all across the country are seeking out new and creative ways to keep the dollars flowing amid the coronavirus restrictions. That applies to minor league baseball as well.

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp have a reputation for being creative in promotions and entertainment at the ballpark. Now, they’re doing it without games on the field. With opening day already more than two months past due, they’ve had to exercise their collective creative minds.

First, it was a movie night, now, the Shrimp have rolled out three events next week at the Baseball Grounds over Fathers' Day Weekend.

First, it was a movie night, now, the Shrimp have rolled out three events next week at the Baseball Grounds over Fathers’ Day Weekend.

On Saturday evening, they’re hosting a formal dinner on the diamond—with the likes of shrimp cocktail—jumbo of course—Chicken or steak and, since this is baseball, apple pie. To maintain social distancing, there is a limit of 150 people for the dinner.

“We love the food, beverage service that you might get coming to a regular Jumbo Shrimp game, and we’re gonna turn this one up a notch,” said Neil Blaha, Jumbo Shrimp assistant general manager. "I think you’ll really be wowed with the food offerings that we’ll be offering. That’s how we’re kicking it off on Saturday.

On Sunday—Father’s Day—it’s Beer, Bacon and Father’s Day Brunch. Seating is limited to 40 tables, and of course, Cajun Jumbo Shrimp N Grits is on the menu.

Then Sunday afternoon, you can play catch with dad on the field.

At all events, parking is free at Lot Z, but tickets to each event must be purchased in advance on jaxshrimp.com.

“We’ve seen it across minor league baseball there’s been some really creative ideas and really, when you’re there are tough times, in whatever industry you’re in, and obviously the nation has gone through something unique in his time, ingenuity wins the day,” Blaha said. “What can you do that you’ve already been doing and how can you tweak that and what are some great things that you can you learn about in these times. We found some really interesting things about our staff, about ourselves personally, and just how to be creative.”

The first movie night went well enough that they’re doing it again Saturday when the movie will be Goodburger. Blaha admits that this has been a tough time waiting for the season to begin, but the staff is working on new ways to keep fans entertained during these unusual times.

About the Author:

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.