Lake Monsters add more field seating ahead of 2019 season

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The Vermont Lake Monsters season starts up Friday night and officials say some changes at Centennial Field will improve the fans' experience.

The Vermont Lake Monsters will take on the Tri-City Valley Cats Friday night.

Officials are excited for a new season of ballplayers to take the field. They say they've added some improvements to enhance the family experience, including adding more field seating.

General Manager Joe Doud says the roster is a little light right now, but that's expected because the players who were just drafted won't show up for another two to three weeks. But he says that shouldn't stop fans from having fun on Friday.

"Our goal is to create positive memories so people can go home and think about the fun night they had with their family, their co-workers, their neighbors," said Doud.

He wants people to leave knowing there was value in their experience, like the three, 25-cent hot dog nights, the fireworks shows and the other free stuff. If you aren't lucky enough to get any of the free stuff, the gift shop is being stocked with lots of new merchandise.

"Twenty new hats, a bunch of different T-shirts, new angles," said Nate Cloutier, the executive director of business development.

Cloutier has been with the Lake Monsters for more than 17 seasons. He says opening night always brings a fresh perspective.

"Every year is a new fan base, a new 5-year-old, there's a new 6-year-old. It just kind of turns over every year and it's someone's first game every day," he said.

If you're new, officials say about two years ago they extended the netting to help keep everyone safe, even if they aren't paying attention.

"We want to make sure that you are able to come here, feel safe and have a good time. It's minor league baseball; we know you are not going to watch every pitch and that's fine, that's OK," Doud said.

If you aren't able to make it to the game, we will have coverage of the game on Channel 3.