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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- 2020 will mark the 20th anniversary of Louisville Slugger Field, and the Louisville Bats' new president told WDRB News he has some big things planned for the fans.

For nearly 20 years, the love of baseball has kept fans coming back to Louisville Slugger Field. Season ticket holder Michael Shields has been watching the Louisville Bats from the same seat for 13 years.

"Section 120. Row R. Seat 12," said Shields, whose fandom dates back to 1982 — when the team, originally known as the Louisville Redbirds, was created.

"My parents got season tickets right away," she said. "Had tickets throughout the entire time that they were alive." 

Vic Gregovits, the new president of the Bats, said fans like Shields keep the minor league baseball team going.

"Watching the fans for the first year — my first year here — was an incredible experience and a bond with the team and the community," Gregovits said. "My question with myself was, 'How can we take that to the next level? How can we get the fans more active and more engaged and be a part of what we do?'" 

Vic Gregovits

The Louisville Bats announced Thursday that Vic Gregovits will take over as the team's new president when Gary Ulmer steps down at the end of the 2019 season. 

Gregovits said that is why he decided to call 2020, the 20th anniversary of Louisville Slugger Field, "The Year of the Fan."

"I look it as we are in the memory making business," Gregovits said, "so our opportunity is to create the memories for that family." 

The goal, Gregovits said, is to make big games even bigger. There will also be 20 different ideas put into play to increase fan engagement. The ideas include getting fans to name the 20 greatest players that have come through Slugger Field.

"We'll create banners for those players voted on by the fans," said Gregovits, who also said fans will have the opportunity to help design a team uniform and get creative in other ways. 

"Probably the most exciting thing is if they send in a promotional idea to us that we use in 2020 they will get season tickets for life," said Gregovits, who added that the organization is also planning upgrades to the stadium. 

Attendance for Bats games is up 5%, with an average of about 7,000 attendees a game, but Gregovits said he hopes the extra engagement will help fill the ballpark's 13,131 seats.

"Asking for more input, I think, is a great idea," Shields said. 

Shields said he is excited to experience what is to come during the 2020 Bats season in the same stadium where he has built memories with his parents, significant other and complete strangers that have become close friends.

"These are really fond memories," Shields said. "You know, we often times plan vacations around when baseball season is running or when the Bats are in town." 

The Bats are continuing to create out-of-the-ballpark moments that will stick with fans for a lifetime and keep them coming back to shout from their seats. For a look ahead at the upcoming season and to get involved, click here

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