Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Syracuse Chiefs Are Getting Salty

The Syracuse Chiefs Are Getting Salty 

Story and Photos by Erin Fish
Tom Wanamaker, Security, with Salt Potato hat.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. Syracuse, New York is known for two things, snow and salt potatoes.

The Syracuse Chiefs are giving their fans a night and some merchandise, to celebrate the latter. On Saturday August 5th, NBT Bank Stadium will host its first “What If Night”, where the Syracuse Chiefs will become the ‘Syracuse Salt Potatoes’ for just one night.

For Facebook promo video: Click here

What is a Salt Potato? Click here

While they take on the Rochester Red Wings, the first 1000 fans (13 & older) in attendance will receive a replica ‘Salt Potato’ jersey.  In the same way the Syracuse Chiefs will have a night to express their love for their local food, the Redwings will be doing the same on August 10th. Their name will be changed to ‘The Plates’ for Rochester’s famous garbage plates.

What is a garbage plate? Click here

Katie Berger, Director of Business Operations and Merchandise for the Syracuse Chiefs explained that she could not take credit for these ideas. Every year minor league baseball has a promotional seminar and that is what spiked Berger’s interest.

While at the seminar, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs won the promotional contest . They presented their idea of “What If Night,” with what if they were the Lehigh Valley Cheesesteaks? They were close to Philadelphia and they were the Phillies Triple-A affiliate. People there loved cheesesteaks. This was a huge success with the Lehigh Valley fans.

Berger watched them make this happen and said, “If they can do this, why can’t we do it?”

'Salt Potatoes' logo on a shirt.
She set out to work. Berger contacted New Era sports and collaborated with them on a logo and a color scheme. They settled on one tough-looking salt potato with a navy blue and yellow color scheme to match the navy color the Chiefs' existing logo.  

Next, she had to worry about how much merchandise to purchase because she didn’t know how the fans would react.
Whistlestop Souvenir Shop

“I tried to be optimistically conservative,” Berger said. “I ordered probably 300 shirts and roughly 500 hats and I was out in a week.”
This was not what they anticipated. At one point there was upwards of 300 orders on back order because of the popularity of the merchandise.  The Chiefs released the merchandise on a Saturday and they were already reordering on a Monday.

Syracuse 'Salt Potatoes' socks
Berger is anticipating a huge day in the store on August 5th.

Click here to purchase 'Syracuse Salt Potatoes' merchandise. 

General Manager Jason Smorol is excited for the “What If Night” as well.

“A salt potato to me means Syracuse. Nobody else has them for whatever reason.” Smorol said. “Growing up as a kid you ate salt potatoes. You didn’t eat salt potatoes until the summer time. You didn’t eat salt potatoes in the winter; you didn’t eat them in the fall. I don’t even think you eat them in the spring.”

As summer comes to a close in Central New York, so will salt potatoes, then there will be snow.

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