Reno Aces fans relish Dollar Menu Sundays at Greater Nevada Field.
A paid attendance of 3,004 filled the stadium in the Aces 6-3 win over the Las Vegas Aviators to get their hands on $1 hot dogs, sodas and popcorn.
In its fifth Sunday home game of the year, more than 11,000 hot dogs have filled stomachs for hungry fans around the ballpark. The number of foot-longs sold at Greater Nevada Field nearly doubles on Sunday.
“On a daily basis we sell around 800 to 1,000 hot dogs,” Reno Aces concessions manager Christopher Thomas said. “For a Sunday, we almost double that and get anywhere from 2,000 to 2,800 depending on the attendance.”
Originally from Virginia and Southern California, Reno Aces season ticket holder David Smith made the most out of the sale.
“I think the hot dogs were cooked just great,” he said. “For a buck, you simply can’t beat the price. I had three of them.”
It may be a discount for fans, but Dollar Menu Sunday is anything but a day off for the Reno Aces’ concessions staff.
Thomas meets with the Aces’ marketing team weeks in advance to manage how many dogs and buns are needed for an upcoming Sunday contest. From there, Thomas contacts US Foods and Franco Baking Company to order large quantities of each ingredient.
Once the the shipments arrive, hot dogs and buns are stored and grilled to perfection for thousands in downtown Reno.
“It takes a lot of planning and projections,” Thomas said. “We figure out how many buns and hot dogs are in a case and how many of them we need for each home stand. Then, we break it down to each home game. You need to plan correctly for labor and how many fans … It’s a strenuous process, but it’s all worth it.”
Against the Fresno Grizzlies on April 28, the five concession stands located around the concourse were running low on buns and dogs for the 4,782 fans in attendance.
“The third Sunday got really dicey,” Thomas said. “We were running really thin. It was almost to the point where we were actually gonna be almost out of hot dogs to sell. Luckily, we accurately predicted how many we needed and had just enough sleeves of buns and dogs to make it.”
The wind and elevation at Greater Nevada Field doesn’t solely affect pitchers on the field, cold nights also have a direct correlation to concession sales.
Warmer weather brings more fans to the ballpark, which translates to higher sales on food and drinks. Sunday night’s weather did them no favors with a low temperature of 49 degrees and wind speeds up to 16 mph.
“Weather is definitely a big factor,” Thomas said. “You definitely see more people come out to the ballpark when it’s warmer and not as many when it’s cold. Today is a bit chilly, so we may see more hot dogs sold around the lower 2,000 mark.”
In his first season with the Aces, Thomas is soaking in his new environment. He was a concessions member with the Independent Baseball League before his arrival to the Biggest Little City.
“This is a fun environment,” Thomas said. “I enjoy being here. Triple-A is definitely different than the Independent League, but the crowd has been great and it’s cool to see the passion of people coming out to the games.”
Hot dog sales from Dollar Menu Sundays are off to a hot start, and Thomas has set lofty aspirations by the end of the regular season.
“A good goal for us is around 75,000 to 80,000 hot dogs sold by then,” he said. “We’re doing good and it’s definitely doable.”
Mathisen launches seventh homer in Aces win
A slight adjustment at the plate has paid dividends for Aces third baseman Wyatt Mathisen.
Mathisen went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, launching a 423-foot blast to right-center in the sixth inning. He is batting .301 (22-for-73) with seven home runs, 18 RBIs and 21 runs in May. He’s hit all seven homers this month.
“There was a small mechanical fix in his swing,” Aces hitting coach Jason Camilli said. “He noticed, and as soon as he saw it that confidence starting to pick up. He had some hard luck in the beginning of the season, it’s not like his at-bats were terrible.
“He had a lot of hard outs and some balls starting falling for him. Once that happens to a good hitter you stick with it, and that’s what he’s doing he’s really finding some good spots out there.”
Reno had 10 hits. Yasmany Tomás went 2-for-4 with a triple off to the corner in right-center. Matt Szczur, Abraham Almonte and Caleb Joseph each hit a double. Travis Snider finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Aces starting pitcher Anthony Vasquez picked up his third win of the season. The southpaw pitched six innings, giving up three earned runs on 10 hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Reno relievers Joey Krehbiel and Ben Taylor pitched one shutout inning apiece.
Las Vegas right-hander Jake Buchanan returned to Reno. He went 11-9 with a 5.17 ERA in 27 games with the Aces last season. He surrendered five earned runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings of work.
Buchanan, 29, signed a minor league contract with the Oakland A’s on November 12, 2018.
Snider’s RBI single put Reno up 1-0 in the first. Las Vegas tied the contest with a run in the second. Both teams scored one run apiece in the fourth. Mathisen’s three-run bomb capped-off a four-run, four-hit sixth inning.
Kevin Ginkel recorded his second save of the season to secure the Aces’ victory.
Notes: Las Vegas Aviators infielder Jorge Mateo leads the Pacific Coast League with nine triples. He led the PCL with 16 triples last season. …. Yasmany Tomas had a team-high 12-game hitting streak. … Tyler Heineman is batting .444 over his last 10 games. … Domingo Leyba is hitting .405 with four homers, seven doubles and 14 RBIs over his last 10 games.
On Deck: Reno, 21-29, faces Las Vegas for the third game of the four-game series at 1:05 p.m. Matt Koch is expected to make his third start with the Aces this season. He was optioned from the Arizona Diamondbacks to Triple-A Reno on May 3. Southpaw Tyler Alexander is the expected starting pitcher for the Aviators.