10/08/2007 12:53 PM -
The Northern League announced the Kansas City T-Bones were named the 2007 Organization of the Year as voted on by the league’s managers, radio announcers, and local media.
Celebrating their fifth season in Kansas City, the T-Bones took home the organization of the year honors for the second time in four years. While falling just two games short of qualifying for the post-season on the field, off the field the T-Bones again increased their total attendance. They are the only franchise in the history of Kansas City professional sports to increase attendance numbers each year of existence. The 2007 season was the first time in team history they averaged more than 6,000 fans per game.
John Ehlert, the team Owner and President, has seen his franchise continue to excel on the field, in the stands, and in the Kansas City community. On June 2, the team saw their one-millionth fan enter the gates of CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The T-Bones were the fastest to reach that milestone in league history. On June 23 the club set a single-game franchise record with 10,345 fans. That eclipsed the previous mark, which was established in 2005, by more than 1,300 fans.
“This award is attributed to the best staff in the league, leading a dedicated team of game day employees and interns, as well as the talent on the playing field who all get the Fun Well Done brand through to every one of our nearly 300,000 fans this season,” said Ehlert. “But even more credit is due to the tremendous fans of the T-Bones, who have supported us so well over our first five seasons. This award belongs to them as well, along with our marketing partners, suppliers and the entire Kansas City area who have embraced Northern League baseball.”
Led by General Manager Rick Muntean, who has been with the T-Bones since the 2004 season, keeping the game fun and entertaining for fans has been a key to the team’s success. This season the team got in the Guinness Book of World Records as more than 1,680 fans strummed a song simultaneously on a guitar prior to the start of a game. In addition, the team also gave away a new Toyota car courtesy of a “Grand-Slam Inning” promotion.
“To be bestowed the Northern League’s top honor of Organization of the Year is fantastic and cherished by all of the T-Bones family,” said Muntean. “It is a testimony to the Ehlert family’s foresight in choosing Kansas City, Kansas as home of their franchise and to the great fans that pass through our gates in record numbers. We thank all those fans and our corporate partners that made this award possible.”
As well as succeeding at the gate, the T-Bones were recognized in the Kansas City business community as part of the 2007 Class of 25 under 25®. This is a list of 25 outstanding businesses with fewer than 25 employees, as recognized by Kansas City Small Business Monthly Magazine. Playing their part in the community, the franchise has funded a recreation initiative through the parks department with a nearly $100,000 annual donation, continued a popular youth reading program, hosted a premier high school baseball tournament as well as a 5k run for charity. Their annual golf tournament raises money for the Buck O’Neil Research and Education Center.