NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk Tides baseball fans are snapping selfies and making the register ring as they celebrate their team’s first Triple-A national championship since 1985.
“I can’t wait to wear this, take a picture, show it off and let everyone know they’re champs,” Tyler Bruno told WAVY as the fan and staff member showed off his new champions t-shirt.
Shortly after the team shop opened on Wednesday, fans lined up to get their gear and take photos with the the International League and the Triple-A national championship trophies. The Tides won the International League championship with a 2-1 series win over the Durham Bulls prior to their Triple-A national championship win over Oklahoma City.
“My wife, she’s gonna get on me about it, but I love my shirts,” said Jim Smith, a retired umpire and longtime Tides fan. “Unless I’m in Colorado visiting my grandchildren I don’t miss a game.”
We also ran into the Tomlin family taking photos of their 6-month-old child with the trophy. They just moved to the city last week.
“New Norfolk fans, new Tides fans, just new everything,” said Kaylin Tomlin. Her husband Adam added that “not just because they won the championship. We would have liked them regardless, but of course, them being champions doesn’t hurt at all.”
No it does not, and no one is feeling the rush of the win like super-fan, and Tides merchandise manager Heather McKeating.
“I mean I’ve been here 27 years — you only dream of that,” McKeating said.
The Tides flew the entire full time staff to Vegas to see the game.
“We have to work,” McKeating said. “We don’t get to enjoy the games. We are too busy kind of running stores and video boards and running promotions.”
For her, rushing the field was a dream come true.
“Plus on the merch side, we uploaded all the championship stuff, and my phone is dinging all night — order after order after order, and I’m like, ‘Oh this is the best day ever,” she said.
It’s far and away the best season ever for Tides sales, she added, and it’s not over yet, as they are
still riding the wave of their big wins.
“It’s Oct. 4 and we’re just as busy, which is a good problem,” McKeating said. “My office downstairs has 400 mail orders waiting to go out this week for all our amazing fans who supported us all summer — (a) great problem to have. I’m not complaining. I’ll lose sleep just to get it all done so our fans will get their gear quickly.”
Fans who haven’t made it out to the ball park yet still have time to see the trophies and pick up a t-shirt or hat. The team store will be open be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and again from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday next week. They will be closed this Friday. You can also buy Tides merchandise online.