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Louisville Slugger Field hosted its "reopening night" on June 22, 2021 as the Louisville Bats played the Indianapolis Indians. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Bats will host their final home games this weekend.

Last year, there wasn't a minor league season, and coming back wasn't quite normal, Executive Vice President Greg Galiette said.

"Coming right out of COVID in late spring, we didn't have opportunity to order anything, get anything in here that would normally be the backbone of what we do as far as some of our promotions and nights," he said. "So we had to get really creative this year and come up with some wild ideas."

They also had fewer staff, about a third of its usual size. Plus, a major renovation project at Slugger Field was getting wrapped up this year.

"It's made for a very interesting season," Galiette said, adding that the staff handled the challenges well.

"We as a staff have really grown and, me as their leader, I'm just really pleased with the way everyone stepped up." 

But missing out on a whole season because of the pandemic does have lingering impacts.

"Just imagine any business going to 17, 18 months with no revenue," Galiette said. "It really creates quite a hurdle. We have some issues financially that we're working through, but we're in nothing of the shape some of these other places are." 

Though getting back to full capacity this season helped, Galiette hopes to see the Minor League Baseball relief bill pass.

"What that would allow us to do financially is get back to the size staff we want to be at, which we are normally at," Galiette said. "We're normally around 40 folks. Right now, we're at 15, and we've been that way all year." 

Crowds also weren't quite at normal levels for Slugger Field, but Galiette is grateful to those who've shown up.

"They went without baseball — or a place to take their families to enjoy a night out — for 18 months," he said. "And now, to be able to provide that back to them and make that a part of their life that makes us feel good as far as what we're doing." 

There are some good feelings about next season, too.

"I'll tell you what, with all the things that are going on in the community and in the world right now, we're very pleased with where we are," Galiette said. "And again, we're excited about where we're going."

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