When Greenberg Sports Group purchased the Frisco RoughRiders before the 2015 season, they had big plans. We all have big plans, but it’s the results that dictate success and boy are they having some through a year and a game. Last season the Riders hosted seven of the nine biggest crowds in club history. They also saw their largest crowd ever on June 12, 2015 when 11,927 fans showed up to Dr. Pepper Ballpark.
Another record was shattered last night as the RoughRiders hosted the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in their home opener. 9,816 fans packed the stands on Thursday night, the biggest crowd since 2004 when 10,773 attended Opening Night.
This is notable for two main reasons: This happened on a weekday (Thursday) and 2004 was the club’s second year of existence where the “New Team Smell” was still very, very apparent for the residents in and around Frisco. The upgrades to the park –like the scoreboard last season and the Choctaw Lazy River coming this June– and to the game day environment –new restaurants, pre and post-game entertainment, two new mascots revealed last night offer a more interactive baseball experience than ever before.
As for the team itself, well, they’re playing some great baseball.
After starting the year 5-0 for the first time since 2008, the Riders dropped the finale of their season opening road trip in Arkansas to the Travelers before returning home. After being one hit by Royals farm hand Matt Strahm through five innings, Frisco exploded for six runs in the sixth inning on their way to a 7-1 victory and a 6-1 record. Ryan Cordell had the biggest hit of the night in the big inning. Turning on a pitch up in the zone, MLB.Com’s 15th ranked prospect in the Rangers organization doubled to left-center, scoring Luis Marte and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Cordell came in to score himself on a single by Ronald Guzman (23rd).
Dallas native Preston Beck capped off the game changing inning with his first home run of the season. A three run shot cleared the ballpark, sailing well past the Lazy River construction. Center Fielder Lewis Brinson was 0-for-3 in his 2016 home debut. Ranked second by MLB.Com, Brinson still holds a .333/.406/.444 slash line through seven games with two stolen bases. We wait patiently for his first long ball of the year.
Cordell has been the early season star, with an incredible .357/.438/.607 line of his own with a home run. He’s played right field four times this season and twice in left. That pesky strikeout rate is still at 29% but his stock intends to only go up as 2016 progresses.