The first time the Tri-City Dust Devils reached the Northwest League playoffs in 2007, they did it on the final day of the season.
As a result, the Dust Devils front office had less than 24 hours to promote ticket sales for Game 1 the next day at what is now Gesa Stadium.
This season, Tri-City clinched the first-half East Division title three weeks ago, making things a little easier for the staff to promote ticket sales for Games 2 and 3 at Gesa Stadium on Sept. 5-6.
Game 1 will be on the road against the as yet undetermined second-half East champion.
"There's a lot of time in the offseason to get people out, but it's harder in the playoffs because you don't have all the presale numbers," said Derrel Ebert, the Dust Devils General Manager and Vice President. "The timing is terrible when you clinch on the last day, but we have a much better chance this year."
Individual ticket sales begin today for the best-of-3 NWL division series and for the NWL championship series. If Tri-City wins its opening series, the best-of-3 NWL championship series would begin Friday, Sept. 9 at Gesa Stadium. Games 2 and 3 will be played on the West Division champion's home field on Sept. 10-11.
Ticket prices will remain the same for the postseason - $9 for lower box seats, $8 for upper box, $6 for general admission and $5 for general admission kids, seniors and military. Group tickets are available for the playoffs, with groups of 20 or more receiving $1 off the regular prices.
"We've always believed in affordable family entertainment," Ebert said. "That's not going to change when we reach the playoffs."
Fans can also buy playoff ticket packages at a discount. Committing to the three home playoff dates will save you $3 for upper and lower box seats. If the Dust Devils don't reach the NWL championship series, fans will be reimbursed for the third home playoff date.
But Tri-City's success this year has Ebert wondering if this could be the year he finally gets a championship ring.
"Around this time, the brochure for ordering championship rings always arrives in the mail. Last year I got it and just threw it away," Ebert said, recalling a team that finished dead last in the East Division. "This year I tucked it away in the drawer. It's nice to know we might have a chance to put that to use."
Ebert has spent the last 10 years with Brett Sports & Entertainment, the last seven as a GM. Despite all those years in pro baseball this is, incredibly, the first time he's been able to celebrate a winning season.
After the Dust Devils clinched with a 10-4 win in Yakima on July 24, Ebert was baptized by the team with a cooler of Gatorade.
"That stuff's not meant to go in your eyes," Ebert said. "But I hope to do it two more times."
Note: Ebert is still finalizing plans for Tri-City's regular-season finale against Salem-Keizer on Sept. 3 at Gesa Stadium. After the game, fans will see what he promises will be a fireworks display "like you've never seen before."
Ebert can't reveal too many details about the event, but you know it's going to be good when he needs final clearance from the fire marshal to go ahead with the show.