Port Angeles Lefties merchandise sits on display at Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles as shoe department employee Marci Dotson stocks shelves in the background Tuesday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles Lefties merchandise sits on display at Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles as shoe department employee Marci Dotson stocks shelves in the background Tuesday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Lefties owner plans another season in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — The owner of the Port Angeles Lefties said he has rejected offers to buy the team and that he plans to continue working with local businesses.

“We’re excited about this season,” Lefties majority owner Matt Acker told the Port Angeles Business Association on Tuesday. “There’s going to be some changes in Year 3.”

He said he has been approached by multiple people looking to buy the Lefties, but Acker believes there’s still plenty of room for the organization to grow before he’s willing to let it go.

Acker has created another company that he said will be used as a real estate fund for the Emerald Coast Opportunity Zone, a federal tax-break program.

“I made it for investment from the West Coast League owners, which three of them want to invest in the community,” Acker said. “They are very specific about the things they want to invest in.”

As people have expressed interest in purchasing the team and investing in the community, Acker has seen an opportunity to learn about ways to increase business for the Lefties, he said.

That led to the introduction of five all-you-can-eat games, including at the season opener on May 30.

The Lefties are offering the five-game package with general admission starting at $75. It includes games on May 30, June 7, June 28, July 19 and Aug. 8.

Another change coming is the food.

Lefties games have been catered by Next Door Gastropub in the past, but Acker said food will now be provided by the Lefties.

“I appreciate Gastropub and the food that they have had there, but my philosophy is going to be more ballpark food,” he said.

He said the Lefties hope their hamburgers will be comparable to Frugals. He said meat will be sourced from Evergreen Meats in Port Angeles.

“Most everything I’m going to get is at Evergreen Meats,” Acker said. “I’m going to get as much as I possibly can here in town.”

Acker also said he is looking forward to the upcoming split doubleheader with the Union de Reyes, a team from Cuba.

On June 2 the Lefties will play against the team at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria. Following that game, the Victoria HarbourCats will face off against the Cubans.

The Lefties have worked out deals with Black Ball Ferry Line for people to buy packages that include transportation to and from Victoria.

“We’re really excited about going over there and playing,” Acker said. “How many times do you think a U.S. team has gotten to play Cuba in the last 50 years?”

Acker said Lefties fans buy 40 percent more team merchandise than fans of other West Coast League teams.

The Lefties have partnered with Swains General Store to sell team merchandise, which he said helps during the off-season months.

“We sell a tremendous amount of merch,” he said. “We found the average Lefties fan buys more merch than the Portland Pickles fan.”

He said the team store, at 117½ W. First Street, will reopen when the interns arrive for the season.

He said the store will act as a “hub” for the interns.

Acker said he had considered not having a team store, but said it is at a great location and is great marketing for the team.

“When it comes to a fan trying to find our stuff, it’s at Swains,” he said.

Acker said the team is looking for more families to host the approximately 45 players who will come to Port Angeles.

“What people can do to help is to host,” he said. “We’re always low on host families this time of year.”

For more information, visit paleftiesbaseball.com

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.

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